srijeda, 18. prosinca 2013.

Okkyung Lee - Ghil (2013)

Ghil cover art

Ekstremna violončela proždiru mikrofone.

A native of Korea, cellist/composer Okkyung Lee has been developing her unique voice in both improvised and composed music by blending her wide interests and influences. Since moving to New York in 2000, she has worked with numerous artists ranging from Laurie Anderson, David Behrman, Douglas Gordon, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Jim O’Rourke, Evan Parker and John Zorn just to name a few, while leading her own projects and releasing more than 20 albums and touring extensively in the US and Europe. Okkyung was a recipient of Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant in 2010.
Ghil was recorded and produced by the Norwegian artist Lasse Marhaug. Instead of recording in what has become the standard in modern contempoary music, with high-end equipment and in controlled studio settings, Marhaug wanted to record Ghil in an expressionistic way – to purposely use crude equipment and unorthodox microphone placement in order to give a more raw and direct depiction of Okkyung playing her music. Marhaug says if it they were making a film, it would be like shooting on grainy 16mm black&white with close-ups instead of 35mm colour cinemascope.
Thus all of Ghil was recorded on a portable cassette recorder from 1976 that Marhaug had just bought second hand. The sessions for the album were done during spring of 2012 in and around the Oslo area. The locations varied from places like Marhaug's studio; a back alley in Oslo center; a cabin in the forest on the Nesodden peninsula; and a former hydroelectric powerplant in the mountains outside Rjukan.
The recordings have been edited, but no overdubs or other post-manipulation other than mastering.

Preternaturally gifted Korean cellist Okkyung Lee emerged as a peerless force within extreme music during the '00s via shocking releases on Ectsatic Peace! and Tzadik and performances alongside everyone from Laurie Anderson to david Behrman and Evan Parker. She commits one of her most striking issues to date for Stephen O'Malley's impeccable Ideologic Organ. 'Ghil' was recorded and produced by Lasse Marhaug, who purposefully used a crappy old 1976 tape recorder and crude microphone placement rather than hi-end studio equipment to capture the raw intensity of Okkyung's combustible expressions. Recording to a 2nd hand portable cassette recorder from 1976 in a number of locations from Oslo back-alleys to a cabin in the forest and a former hydroelectric powerplant in the mountains, 'Ghil' represents her incredible, skin-flaying techniques with unflinching candour, making for a visceral and white-knuckle experience that's as shocking as it is life-affirming. Highly recommended. - boomkat

When I first listened to Ghil, I had to keep reminding myself that I was hearing a flipping cello, such is the manner in which Korean improviser and composer Okkyung Lee distorts, disturbs and even deconstructs her instrument, to the point of rendering it unrecognisable. And the results are simply amazing, Ghil effectively standing as the premier noise album of 2013.
The liner notes for Ghil leap out at you as you start being barraged by Lee's improvisational assault: the album was recorded in Norway by noise legend Lasse Marhaug on a portable tape machine in four different locations, three of which were outside the studio (an abandoned power plant, the back streets of Oslo and a cabin in a forest). What an image that information conjures in the mind: Okkyung Lee seated or standing, battering and scraping her strings surrounded by trees, run-down energy pylons or the debris of a claustrophobic back-alley. The music is suitably expressionistic, a sort of brittle, abrasive take on free improvisation where the convenience and structures inherent in group interplay are impossible, and the comfort of the recording studio deliberately avoided. It's no wonder that commentators have drawn a connection between Ghil and the solo work of Derek Bailey, a man who famously challenged improv's reputation as supremely free music by pointing out very few improvisers achieved said freedom. Okkyung Lee doesn't have Bailey's sly humour, or at least it doesn't trickle into her broodingly intense music, but she certainly shares some of his style. Just listen to the great man's duo album with Steve Noble, Out Of The Past, where Bailey achieves the same sort of brutality with his guitar as Lee displays on Ghil.
Ghil presents a series of vignettes, most of them short, and none extending beyond nine minutes or so, but it feels like these short durations allow Lee more freedom to let loose and aggressively deconstruct the conventions of cello performance. Her style is positively punkish, as displayed on 'The Crow Flew After Yi Sang' and 'Strictly Vertical', on which she sounds like she's actually grinding her bow into the strings whilst simultaneously see-sawing it across them. The pace is relentless, to the point of being destabilising, for one expects more drone and patience with the cello, as opposed to this kind of distorted freneticism. On 'Two To Your Right, Five To Your Left', the cello sounds alternately like a broken electric guitar stuck on a feedback loop and the revving of a sports car; while the nine-minute magnum centrepiece 'The Space Beneath My Grey Heart' sees Lee reduce the sound of her cello to a beleaguered croak, shifting tempos adding more disruption to any notion of compositional aestheticism. The album closes with two overdriven slabs of ecstatic lunacy, 'Meolly Ganeun' and 'Over The Oak, Under The Elm', where the cello is transformed into a ferocious noise machine, filtered and distorted until Lee's singular music comes close to resembling the harsh noise walls of Vomir or The Rita. If the principal behind free improvisation is to defy and transform musical idioms, then Ghil verges on the triumphant.
Of course, one could argue that Okkyung Lee has ended up creating her own idiom with the way she manipulates, even destroys, the sound of the cello. The same could be said even of Derek Bailey. But I'm not sure such considerations matter one jot. On Ghil, Okkyung Lee effectively wipes the floor with just about every solo improviser out there, displaying a boldness and complete disregard to compromise that makes every last second a visceral thrill. In such a context, words mean very little. All that matters is the noise, and it's blissful. - Joseph Burnett

Even if an artist claims to make improvisational music, they still need to know what they’re doing. Otherwise the line between exploring a singular instrument’s point of break and simply engaging in a pretentious string workout is being blurred. Korean artist Okkyung Lee certainly does know what she’s doing. Holding a degree in music, she has collaborated with people like Laurie Anderson and John Zorn. Her latest album Ghil is a collaboration with Norwegian noise musician Lasse Marhaug. The results are ugly in the best of ways, forming a maelstrom that is surely the best noise record of the year.
   Lee is a cellist and despite this being a collaboration, there are two sides to Ghil. Lee provides the sounds while Marhaug arranges them in a way that is interesting and engaging on a well flowing level which will appeal even to those who aren’t shoulders deep in either neo-classical or noise music. Needless to say, Lee’s playing style is incredibly noisy and abrasive. The album is an experiment in playing cello with so much power that the sound coming out of the speakers in unrecognisable sound of pure evil. While eventually the nine tracks on Ghil all reveal that they have strong identities of their own, what unites them all is the savage energy with which Lee is torturing the strings.
   Being improvisational music, there’s little to nothing on here in a form of songwriting. But the flow is certainly in place and whether Lee is being intimidating or lost in drone, majority of these moments have a flow to them. When it comes to free improvisation, majority of people will go for Colin Stetson who himself has put out a new record earlier this year. But where his sound has recently felt tame and he himself even went the extra mile to take away the natural power of it all by employing Justin Vernon on vocals, Lee is all about the atmosphere. Ghil is chillingly frightening at its core all while being quite penetrable. The noise forms little loops and swirls as it goes along to make for an uncomfortably hypnotising experience.
   A lot of that is thanks to Marhaug who has been left with producing the material that Lee recorded for him. He leaves the sound of the cello raw and untreated, instead focusing on arranging these parts in ways that would make for an experience rather than a workout. And let’s be honest, there’s many things that can go very wrong while trying to extract flow out of music that’s as relentlessly ready to pounce as this. This is where Ghil truly wins. Rather than going for the stereotypical production of having a couple of long tracks evolve, Marhaug really trims down the fat on the material here. Tracks last as long as their loop and motif warrants them to. There’s a couple of tracks that quit at one or two minutes. While not exactly interludes, they are, relatively speaking, the softest moments on here. Lee still deals in length and at its best, like The Crow Flew After Yi Sang and Meolly Ganeun, Ghil is a pace beast. These tracks sound like they’re building towards something grander and finish in the cacophony of reaching their destination. Blink and you won’t notice that very few of the ideas here go for longer than they need to.
   Ghil is not the most difficult record to appreciate. There’s only one trick to it. Luckily on here Okkyung Lee and Lasse Marhaug aim towards improvisation that has a destination. The album may be a headache and a pretty uncomfortable listen on headphones but let’s be honest. 2013 is a pretty abysmal year for music. All the best albums this year have taken one idea and ran with it. Ghil does that just as well as the greats thanks to the no rules, yet no nonsense approach to pacing of the relentless cello noise. Though certainly not for everyone, Ghil is one of those records we can’t help to love and admire thanks to how insane they can get while still knowing what’s their point. -

On first listen, Okkyung Lee’s Ghil sounds about as solo as it gets. It’s just her and a cello, improvising without overdubs or effects. The production is raw and immediate, putting you so close to her instrument you can practically see the divots in its strings. And the music is so impulsive and untamed that at times it feels like you’re hearing her nervous system. Lee has made intimate solo music before-- 2008’s I Saw the Ghost of an Unknown Soul and It Said… is a highlight of her diverse discography-- but nothing so far has had the direct impact of Ghil.
It turns out, though, that Ghil is actually a collaboration. Lee played all the sounds on the album, but they were recorded by Norwegian noise musician Lasse Marhaug, whose ideas guided the project. Marhaug took Lee to numerous locations in Oslo and documented her improvisations with a cheap mic and a vintage 1976 tape deck. Lee calls Marhaug’s technique “expressionistic…the way he recorded was the closest way to how I 'feel’ when I play rather than how it 'sounds.’” The pair laid down nearly three hours of music this way, and Lee trusted Marhaug so much that she let him edit and sequence the results without hearing the full source material herself.
That was a wise decision, because Marhaug did a masterful job of choosing and arranging Lee’s music. He maintains the sessions’ in-the-moment feel while crafting a progression that approaches narrative. Ghil is also remarkably varied for an album with such a consistent emotional tone. Though Lee always sounds like she’s playing on the edge of her seat, some of the music is hypnotic, with repetitions that encourage meditation; other sections dart around so quickly it’s like she's putting out fires in the corners of her mind. Tracks like the trebly “Meolly Ganeun” sound like a pedal-pushing noise band, while the cavernous “Hollow Water” and the growling “Two Perfectly Shaped Stones” build drones that seem beyond the capacity of a single instrument.
If you’re unfamiliar with Lee’s work or improv in general, a good reference point for Ghil might be the saxophone workouts of Colin Stetson. Both he and Lee put physical effort into their music that in turn has a visceral effect on the listener. But where Stetson can drift toward calmer tones, Lee here is all about brute force-- sometimes at a frightening level. Take the ear-busting “Two to Your Right, Five to Your Left,” which evokes string sections from horror movie soundtracks shattered against each other.
That thrill-ride aspect of Ghil is intoxicating, but its main strength is how it sounds both tactile and emotional-- both like natural phenomena and purposeful music. I often find myself fascinated by Lee’s textures and how she created them, but I never feel like I’m listening to field recordings or abstract art. That’s due to Lee’s pedigree as a composer and player-- she has a degree in music from Berklee, has accompanied Laurie Anderson and Vijay Iyer, and made two albums of precisely-arranged music for John Zorn’s Tzadik label.
But when Marhaug asked her to record, Lee had reached a stage where she was thinking less about structure, preferring to “start totally blank and wait for something to tell me where to go.” The result is an album that somehow embraces music while it’s abandoning it. And whichever end of her spectrum Lee swings toward-- the harshly noisy or the hypnotically meditative-- her sound always commands attention, making Ghil the biggest surprise in a career already full of them. - Marc Masters

I’m not going to deny that it can be fun getting caught up in the details of an album’s production, particularly when Ghil has such a first-class selection of features to flaunt: a reputable Korean cellist; Stephen O’Malley’s Editions Mego imprint; a second-hand portable tape recorder; a hydroelectric power plant; and an Oslo back alley. It was inevitable that I’d leap at this record with a fistful of intrigue and exuberant fascination for the avant-garde; there was never any question. The only trouble is that, in spite of all the seductive trimmings, the majority of tracks on Okkyung Lee’s latest album doesn’t quite hold up to the ideas that permeate around the edges.
Lee has spoken before about how she won’t realize the inspiration for a piece until it’s complete, only then will the concept slot together. From the perspective of a listener, that makes it very difficult to discuss structural elements within her sound, such as influence and progression. But if one were to go stabbing around in the gloom, it would appear that the most recurring tendency on Ghil is the examination of threshold. This not only accounts for the strained, claustrophobic display of tight and rigid workout she puts her cello through, but in her expectations of the audience and the gauze through which these aural root canals are presented.
Lasse Marhaug, the Norwegian artist who recorded the album, captures the threshold of each twisted reverberation as it bleeds out through the fibers of Lee’s bow. He experiments with equipment in a way that mirrors the techniques of musicians, like Leszek Mozdzer, who laces recording gear in the most peculiar crevices of his piano to capture stern, organic resonance, or Colin Stetson, who surrounds his saxophone with microphones to isolate noise and melody. While such procedures allow for an up-close-and-personal approach, the resulting music on Ghil etches and bellows about with little regard for an entry point, which disregards the precise nature of production choices that have been made here.
Each recording was captured during a single take — no overdubs — and although this comes as little surprise on playback, the results make for a cryptic assortment of skewed compromise. While the stronger, more forceful pieces at the tail end of the LP demonstrate how incredible this stripped-down, lo-fi approach might sound, they also expose the cold, snapping, and disembodied fractures of “The Crow Flew After Yi Sang” and “The Space Beneath My Grey Heart” as distractions void of both substance and strategy. Listening to these latter offerings conjures a range of fleeting snapshots, all of which revert to the notion of threshold, but they achieve very little in physically testing it: those final few nerves splitting as the dentist tugs at a damaged tooth; the ultimate gory snap of a disdainful lover, hurling some insult after a row; or the weightless and indistinguishable straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The music that invokes such distant imagery is raw and rigid from the start, and that fits appropriately with the barebones angle at which the record has been tackled. Take “Strictly Vertical,” which mangles sharp and jagged bow thrusts with swift scrapes and scratches; it sounds like opposing forces squabbling all feeble as they come into contact with each other. It’s picky and unfocused in a way that showcases a knack for testing the boundaries of abstract filler as opposed to the illustration of an accomplished craft. The same strategy occurs on “Two Perfectly Shaped Stones,” a track title that wonderfully describes the preceding interludes, but that has almost no distinguishable character itself. “Cheol-Khot” and “Hollow Water” both exemplify a more focused and refined display of avant cello orchestration, while “Stones” — a track that defies the combined total of the former pieces in length — is an empty fidget, an entanglement that might be intriguing from the perspective of the recording process, but is altogether unassuming and tired.
What makes these shortfalls so frustrating is the fact that the concluding tracks are absolutely killer. Without warning, you are thrust into a sonic landscape that is still raw and damaged, but also raging and corrosive. These final accomplishments are a gut-wrenching testament to the potential both Lee and Marhaug possess. “Meolly Ganeun” is just sensational; although it builds into a lengthy spasm of high-frequency assault, it’s a cross pollination of disintegrated Korean folk and noise that retains a feeling of gritted malice. “Over The Oak, Under The Elm” then washes across the scene — a bitter caress of scaling hiss and static that launches into some technically astounding tonal shifts. Curiously, it’s this closing couplet that sounds as though it has received the most mastering. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but throughout the record’s eventual 14 minutes, it seems obvious where the most care was taken.
Ghil is an album that’s shaped by ideas, but driven by a sound that’s often disengaged. It peaks where external components — like whether or not the cassette recorder was secondhand, or which Akershus peninsula the track was recorded on — cease to matter. The most exciting, powerful, and devastating sequences are all exposed when those redundant details are ditched and you can feel the force of these brutal recordings for what they really are: a dark and rebellious expression of the soul. -

OKKYUNG LEE – 57 Answers

Okkyung Lee: cello, pick-up microphone
Why necessarily expressing complexity in long durations? With this piece – lasting 16-plus minutes – Okkyung Lee finds a way to substantiate a radical synthesis of sorts, a sound world containing practically everything as two major forces – that of periodic acoustic exhalation and knotty phraseology – fight one another, ultimately giving life to awesome artistic implications.
Overdubbing parts is a rather uncharacteristic process (though not altogether new) for an unrestrained improvising fury such as Lee’s. Nevertheless, the reiterative structures constituting the essence of 57 Answers are as threateningly fascinating as a pre-storm sky in their husky reconfiguration of the cello’s lower frequencies. In the first half, a thrumming pulse underlies a series of intricate evolutions in the acute register, screeching pitches and sulfurous upper partials producing the same sparkles of a chainsaw blade hitting a metal sheet. Following a somewhat cryptic section in which the instrument’s timbre gets literally vivisected, revealing hundreds of gritty hues and crepitating noises, the last part explodes in a loud chorale of growling drones swinging violently like a crazy pendulum until no more energy remains.
Sparse arco whispers conclude the action, but something still lies underneath the apparent placidity. We’re left with a persisting sense of precariousness: think of a horror movie’s finale where, just before the end titles, the killer’s scarred face is smiling wryly after everybody was thinking that he had been destroyed.
Auditory continuance is a must, loudness (and, if possible, a sub-woofer) too. -


“It’s really not about shock!” insists Korean-born cellist and composer Okkyung Lee. “Sometimes it becomes like watching an athlete, saying”oh, so-and-so is playing so loud, so-and-so is so fast“. And that’s not what I’m doing. I’m not putting up a ‘show’.” We are sat at the back of London’s Café Oto, and I have just tentatively raised the subject of the language used in various reviews and blogs to describe Lee’s energetic and often abrasive music. Her recent solo release “Ghil”, captured on cheap antique microphones and tape recorders by artist Lasse Marhaug, has been compared to everything from a swarm of bees to a bomb going off, yet at the same time manages to slip through the net of improvised noise clichés into darker, less charted waters.
Whether her music is shocking or not, Lee has journeyed far from the strict Korean classical music regime into which she was inducted at the age of six, both geographically and musically. Wanting to get away from the confines of classicism, she enrolled at a Boston jazz school, where she’d heard they taught “non-classical” degree programmes. There was a problem, though: she didn’t know anything about jazz.
“I didn’t know who Miles Davies was,” she recounts. “So I had to kind of bullshit my way through. I’d hear people talking about certain names, and I’d just go to Tower Records and buy a whole bunch of CDs and try to listen to them. I didn’t like what I heard right away. It took me a while to get into it.”
Following a master’s degree at New England Conservatory, Lee moved to New York, where she found herself playing with established artists from across the spectrum of experimental music: Laurie Anderson, Carla Bozulich (Evangelista), John Butcher, Evan Parker, Axel Dörner, Thurston Moore, John Zorn, and many others. “At first it was mostly about developing and trying to expand my vocabulary,” she says. “In the last few years it became more sound-oriented, maybe. I’m a very traditional person when it comes down to making music. The vocabulary I use is maybe a little outside the ‘norm’, but then it’s really about paying attention to the sounds, and then also thinking about the structures, and to keep pushing myself in a way I want to go, somewhere that I haven’t gone to before. And hopefully while I’m doing it, it comes out as a piece of music that’s… really good, you know?”
Recently Lee has gravitated more towards solo work, bringing her relationship with her chosen instrument more to the fore. On this topic, she is adamant.
“I’m a cellist, I play cello, from the very beginning. I don’t play other instruments. I don’t play cello as if it’s guitar, I don’t do that. But I’m not trying to make it sound like ‘cello’, either. Everything I do on cello, I think it’s doable by anybody who knows how to play the cello. Maybe I just go a little further than most other people would do. But then by doing that there’s another world that comes in, and a sound palette, and that’s fun for me.”
The search for new and interesting sounds has led Lee in a number of unexpected directions — not only towards Western-dominated jazz and free improv, but also to the traditional songs of her native Korea. “It wasn’t something I always paid attention to,” she says of this music. “Only when I went to NEC, that’s when I started kind of paying attention to it. It’s not even like whether you ‘like’ it or not, but you just have it somewhere inside. I think that’s what Korean music was for me. Then later I realised actually I really looooove the singing, especially. And there was this record I heard of these traditional songs, sung by females, coming from way up in the north-east, near China, almost. The way they sing, the melodies, they’re quite different from what I grew up with — they’re really long, melismatic, and also very microtonal melodies. And I really was taken by it.”
“I think it’s natural to investigate what I have inside that defines who I am — not just as a Korean person, but as a person. So I have some kind of attachment to this [music], and then what is it? How do I want to incorporate that into my playing? Why do I want to do it? Is it something I already have, or something I’m trying to bring in, as an extra thing?”
Later that evening, as I watched Lee pummel and pound dense sheets of cacophony from a borrowed cello, I could well imagine how her intense performance style could be read in terms of shock and awe. Yet throughout our conversation I was aware of an agile and focused intelligence that now seemed transposed into a more physical mode, each bow stroke carving out a razor-sharp line of thought.
“It would be great if people could listen to my music without any preconceived notion of what it should be,” Lee suggests, “but then that’s also impossible, not to have any kind of idea what you’re getting into.” Her own history suggests otherwise: it’s how she learned who Miles Davies was, for a start. The most perceptive review I’ve read of “Ghil”, published on the website Search and Restore, was authored by a 4-year-old girl called Eva. “I feel like it’s going to rain / I don’t know how I feel”, she asserts as she listens, and her words open up a space that encapsulates both sounding-like and not-sounding-like, thought and feeling and perception held together without worrying too much about the contradictions. In this space, Lee’s cello crackles and hums. - Interview by Nathan Thomas

C. SPENCER YEH, OKKYUNG LEE AND LASSE MARHAUG - Wake Up Awesome, Software Recording Co.
**Stunning suite of far-out, psychedelic collaborations between three virtuosic players. Really sounds like little else out there. Intrepid listeners need to check this** "Wake Up Awesome, by C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), Okkyung Lee, and Lasse Marhaug (Jazzkamer), is the second chapter of SSTUDIOS (Software Studios Series). SSTUDIOS is a new venture in the Software Recording Co.‘s expanding catalog that invites artists in the field of electronic music to create collaborative works of quality and vision. Inspired by the historical intersections of… Read more

It's a collaboration that just shouldn't work, but the collision of sounds pieced together by New York based composer and conceptual sound artist Marina Rosenfeld, alongside virtuoso cellist Okkyung Lee and, most strikingly, The Bug collaborator Warrior Queen, has produced one of the most surreal, futuristic records you'll hear in 2013. The inter-dimensional blend of Warrior Queen's vocals and Okkyung Lee's cello infused, electro-acoustic scapes draped by the intense frequency modulations of Rosenfeld really sounds unlike anything you'll have heard be… Read more
Exhilarating, bewildering and shocking side from two infamous improvisors, Okkyung Lee (Cello), and Phil Minton (Voice). The LP is accompanied by liner notes from Christian Marclay who scribes a long list of adjectives only to finish "Words are powerless when it comes to describing what Okkyung Lee and Phil Minton are doing here." and we've gotta agree with the man. He knows what he's talking about. This record is bonkers in the most best sense of the word. Braver listeners will be in their element. LP is housed in fold-over sleeve screen-printed by Midori Ogata & Anna Tjan, in an edition of 350.
OKKYUNG LEE - Nihm, Tzadik
John Zorn produced debut from Boston (via Korea) based Okkyung Lee. As the latest contributor to the Oracles series ("a celebration of the diversity and creativity of women in experimental music"), Lee has served up an album of contrasts, wherein the abstract brushes shoulders with more conventional compositions. Heralding the start of 'Nihm' is a collection of chimes ('On A Windy Day') that radiate the very essence of abstract, a situation which is immediately plunged into stark juxtaposition by the following piece ('That Undeniable Empty Feeling'), wherein warm-hued instrumentation is neatly rendered through a Don Redman-esque jazz template. Elsewhere it is the less forcibly experimental songs that work the best, with 'Home' making a solid advancement of Susumu Yokota's sound (fragile, piano-led melodies) and the gorgeous strings of 'Sky', which could have any number of Type Records' signings stamped on the underbelly
C. SPENCER YEH / OKKYUNG LEE / LASSE MARHAUG - Wake Up Awesome, Software Recording Co.
**Stunning suite of far-out, psychedelic collaborations between three virtuosic players. Really sounds like little else out there. Intrepid listeners need to check this** "Wake Up Awesome, by C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), Okkyung Lee, and Lasse Marhaug (Jazzkamer), is the second chapter of SSTUDIOS (Software Studios Series). SSTUDIOS is a new venture in the Software Recording Co.‘s expanding catalog that invites artists in the field of electronic music to create collaborative works of quality and vision. Inspired by the historical intersections of live perf… Read more 
It's a collaboration that just shouldn't work, but the collision of sounds pieced together by New York based composer and conceptual sound artist Marina Rosenfeld, alongside virtuoso cellist Okkyung Lee and, most strikingly, The Bug collaborator Warrior Queen, has produced one of the most surreal, futuristic records you'll hear in 2013. The inter-dimensional blend of Warrior Queen's vocals and Okkyung Lee's cello infused, electro-acoustic scapes draped by the intense frequency modulations of Rosenfeld really sounds unlike anything you'll have heard before… Read more
Out of stock
Roberto and Maurizio Opalio’s ultra limited ‘From the Earth to the Spheres’ series has seen a host of luminaries of the avant-garde scene dedicate a side to a 100-limited record featuring exclusive hand-made art. Of course the records are worth silly money the minute they’re released, so those of us who don’t count our savings in gold ingots look to the cd reissues to find out what the music’s like. This is the sixth instalment in the series and sees vinyl manipulation guru Christian Marclay performing with avant-Cellist Okkyung Lee at the legendary Tonic club in NYC. You probably know what to expect as Marclay spits out hisses, crackles and fragments of ancient recordings through his multiple decks and Lee throws forth some truly disturbing tones from his Cello. The Opalio brothers provide the second piece under their worrying pseudonym My Cat is an Alien and do what they do best – drones. They’ve mastered the formula now after a deluge of albums, splits and EPs and here they’re really on form; bowel shaking distortion and bass, plucked guitar and of course the all important cosmic flourishes most likely coming from their collection of broken toys. Interestingly the pair have included an extra 35 minute track which is supposed to come in place of the locked groove which finishes the original vinyl. This looping segment gradually decays and distorts giving us something comparable to William Basinski’s incredible ‘Disintegration Loops’ series, and while being somewhat gimmicky, somehow works. You know what to do
- boomkat

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