Posts Tagged ‘Karl Records’

Karlrecords – 27th August 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Well this is an interesting one, and it was, admittedly, Thurston Moore’s name that compelled me to give it some ear time. While listening to the first pounding space-rock psychedelic jazz freakout, it dawns on me that this isn’t actually my first meeting with Turkish free form ensemble Konstrukt, and that I was blown away and bewildered by their 2018 collaboration with Keiji Haino, A Philosophy Warping, Little by Little That Way Ahead Lies a Quagmire (Live).

It’s hard to tell what’s going on and who’s doing what on this first piece, especially what Moore brings to the mess of noise that is, ‘Yapayalnız (Gezerler Sokaklarda)’, which sees a motoric rhythm hold steady amidst a vortex of punk-infused chaos until, ultimately, everything collapses. There are some shouted vocals, but they’re muffled and drenched in so much echo that it sounds more like a riot than a performance, and it makes for an eye-popping, headache-inducing ten minutes. The fact that this was recorded live makes you wonder what it must have been like to witness first-hand: on the one hand, it’s exciting, unpredictable, while on the other, it’s vaguely frustrating, because you don’t know where it’s going – or where it will end.

Turkish Belly is the fifth and latest entry in the ongoing series of collaborations between the four-piece ensemble and an array of guests, and it’s certainly experimental and freeform, to the point at which one could question whether there really is much form at all, and it’s extremely difficult to extrapolate precisely what Moore brings to the chaotic party. Perhaps it’s simply another layer of chaos.

‘Kurtadam’ in two parts is very much percussion-dominated and almost hints at the conventions of rock – but it’s only a hint, and more to do with the solid rhythm section than anything else. It does nail a groove, which is welcome, but everything else especially the horns, are all over and flying every whichway.

The final track, the eleven-and-a-half minute ‘Uğultular’ is a braying beast of a tune – if you can call it a tune as such. The deadened drum beats thwack out a damp rhythm amidst a serpentine sway of seeping discord and disarray. There’s murky bass and some wild, reverb-soaked guitar work, and the whole thing lumbers and lurches, bleats and brays blindly. Wordless vocals growl and grunt amidst a buzz and a howl that yawns and churns and crawls its way to conclusion.

The audience’s applause and cheers after jolt the listener back to reality, and the fact that this a document of a live performance. Maybe you had to be there to fully appreciate it, as it seems those present on the night very much did, but on record, it’s interesting, but at times a bit of a slog.

AA

KR084_front

Karl Records – 21st September 2018

James Wells

There’s nothing like an intriguing title, or one which ignites the imagination to generate interest in an album – or maybe it’s just me. And so the curious selection of the pairing of ‘runt’ with ‘vigor’ piqued my interest: the idea and image of a runt, smaller and weaker than nature intended, flailing feebly but energetically… Paired with the collage cover art, it all points toward something far-out – and I’m not mistaken or misled.

Now, I’m more accustomed and adjusted to music from the furthest, most extreme fringes, avant-gardism that redefines bizarre, inexplicable, outré. Chen is so outré that she’s bypassed me for all of 30 years, which includes a prodigious solo career punctuated by myriad collaborations that accounts for the last 15.

While much of her output is centred around cello, voice, and analogue electronics, vocal explorations have been at the heart of her most recent works including this four-track offering, which contains forty minutes of gulps, clicks, gargles and hums all emanating from the mouth and throat. Ululations and stuttering glottal stops create the very fabric of the compositions and occupy the foreground, along with asthmatic, gasping breaths, atonal, meandering whistles, and strangulation sounds.

While it’s more overtly ‘musical’ than Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice which stands by way of a relatively obvious comparison, it’s not less disturbing or strange, and it’s impossible to distinguish the origins of all of the sounds here; the whispering hums, drones and wavering gusts of wind are, I would assume, as likely to originate from the artist’s body as from an instrument. It’s the way in which everything is rendered obscure, the voice twisted, pushed, pulled, distorted and disfigured beyond all recognition from the conventional utterances of speech, song, or even flatulence, which is so awestriking.

You may hear albums which share the same sonic territory, but I’d wager none will have been created in the same way.

AA

Audrey Chan