Honey for Petzi’s career has been marked by a series of outstanding records, two of which, Heal All Monsters (2001) and Nicholson (2003), are being re-released today on vinyl by Two Gentlemen Records. These are, of course, historical documents, but they are above all to be considered as elements of a living heritage, as their modernity remains unaltered.
Heal All Monsters, produced by Steve Albini (the Almighty), features a series of tracks driven by what one might call noble tension, a perfectly accomplished game of repetitions and accumulations, of structures that joyfully betray linearity by piercing it with clever syncopations. Their music is like an autonomous system, so natural is its seductive complexity. “Everything was recorded live,” Sami Benhadj explained to Nicolas Julliard in Le Temps in May 2001 when the album was released. “Steve Albini pushed us to keep the first takes, despite the mistakes. For him, it’s a question of integrity.”
Nicholson shows a more magnetic character – this is an album that steers iron filings in the direction of its bursts of energy. There are strings ringing here, mechanical embryos that unfold in contained fractals, gigantic gears that set themselves in motion with clockwork precision, unclassifiable rhythms – not because they are out of any grid, but because they lay out new ones, one after another. With its pulsation made of buzzing electrical sounds, “Nicholson”, the track that opens the record and gives it its name, is in this respect a masterpiece of inventiveness.