Ikue Mori & Christian Rønn
Chordis et Machina (Resipiscent; LP)
Out on August 7th is this striking new set of five pieces by the duo of Tokyo’s veteran sound manipulator Ikue Mori and Danish composer Christian Rønn. In what starts off like a carnival game of synth loops and swoops is the delightfully playful Beyond The Forest. It’s as though you are the shiny ball bearing being flipped through a cosmic machine, the effects are fueled by animated sci-fi and puzzling intercommunication from an unknown source. The crackles and pops seem erratically aerated, light as a feather, and full of steam. Loch Ness begins with bells and glassy, splintered surfaces. Capturing the title of the album perfectly this sounds machine-made, but driven by human curiosity. Icy space music that has just the right sense of subtlety and remove. The pitter-patter of tiny beats along with a range of tuning channels surround the listening space with a layered experiment in progress.
On The Path they team up to create a slightly Latin-flavored sound with a bubbly castanette-like percussion and scraping micro drumming. It revs like a propeller and floats tangibly just above the surface. The instant piano intro to Primordial Chaos, the longest single work here, is quite harmonious at first after it initially barges in. As the instrument reclines to the background an assortment of crispy random effects fill the edges, and dissipate, leaving the piano melody lone until a thin layer of crystalline echoes forges itself atop the setting.
Listen to Ikue Mori here.
Such ‘chaos’ offers a twinkly of dissonant chords that break between minimal neo-contemporary and out jazz, but in doing so become distinctly other. The fusion of ecstatic electro-acoustic and other worldly sensibilities draw some resemblance to Cecil Taylor’s out-of-body playing, but here in the hands of Mori, accompanied by Rønn’s steady electronic manipulations it’s in a brand-new tongue. It’s as though the Phantom of the Opera’s afterlife has risen.
The final piece here, Spatium Mutate, is delightful electronic galactic fairy tale. The elongated chords, ever-so-slight sassy effects and drone fades make for a mixed tone work that could fit square into much futuristic cinema these days. However, this jangling conclusion, is it’s own quirky soundtrack, and with each slight manipulation they end in a somewhat involved set of moving rotations that give you the essence of cliffhanger.
Listen to Christian Rønn:
It’s so exciting to hear this coming from the Bay Area’s exciting underground ‘anti-profit‘ label. This record leaves your senses tense, salivating, wanting….