Joel Cahen | Aquadelique
Released this upcoming weekend is Aquadelique, the abstract aquatic fantasy by experimental electronic artist Joel Cahen on London’s Adaadat imprint. This is a production from the Wet Sounds series, underwater concerts. Let’s dive in, shall we?!
The release of Aquadelique coincides with performances at pools in both London and Sheffield this month. Aside from Cahen the record also features the sax stylings of Ricardo Tejero as well as vocals by Fredy Thuon and Rebecca Horrox. From the gorgeous above/below the surface impressionistic coverart by Mat Humphrey I think we will be in for a deep, mulitilayered listen. The record opens with Orange Sky. It’s slightly woozy with electronic chattering. It’s a cool ambient atmosphere with a bit of a haunting jazzy edge. The effects have a rubbery flair, which aids and abets being upon the glassy surface. It’s a low-range set of sonics, indicating the surface, so to speak, has been broken. Though it also has some in common with dial-up frequencies and other transmissions.
On Black Rainbows the frequencies are being tuned, the free-floating nature feels limbic, lost in a liquid limbo. The sax purrs softly as bells lightly jangle, creating a meditative setting. A doppled S.O.S.-like signal emits, and other sound effects wiggle about. Sensorily you may experience a quasi submerged feeling, as if you are losing gravity via the slowness of the deep acoustics. The final track on side one (vinyl) is Centre of a Cyclone. Here, too, the sensitive solace of ambience and synesthesia start to merge with blurred voices and jagged static effects. It’s as if a recording is on fire, and critical instructions are being rewound, erased, degrading. This is a treat for for those exploring their autonomous sensory meridian response.
This is an active listen, for both highs, lows, and a variety of cascading microsounds that weave through these wonderful passages. Blurs Of My Eyes has a slightly more aggressive tone than the previous work, and fits perfectly within the gradual shaping of energy. Cahen’s approach here is seems to offer a blended percussive mix that sounds like experimental samba-techno-rock. It’s not a dance track, far more restrained and inquisitive. Yet it seems more like a machine learning a new language, taking in various cultural references, cycling them for later.
The thump of Canolin Tap feels like you pressed a button and, presto, and instant response. It plays with melody some, but keeps the austere sheen of something breaking from the atonal, breaking through the surface of sound without competitive velocity. This chugs along as if its levitating by its midpoint. It has a slight pop leaning, but never quite goes there, in fact, it uses a reverse tape technique that is quite effective. In the end it’s its own jazz-electro pastiche, with lots of winding psychedelia coming in from left field. The crunchy clicks and cuts on Fume Noir are bathed in a vivid mix of treated synth layers that bounce around. The clickety-clack percussion leads to a breathy contorted vocal with reflexes to spare. In the end it’s sculpted into a far-out abstraction that is quite rare – an enjoyable and challenging listen. It’s a quirky, perky conclusion that will ring in my ears for hours. Turn it up!