Thee Koukouvaya | Tο παρελθόν περιέχει το μέλλον
Somewherecold Records (CD/DL)
Thee Koukouvaya is a duo made up of John O’Hara and Brian Wenckebach, and it’s all Greek to me on Somewherecold. The album title translates to “the past contains the future” – so here’s hoping this will be a spacey trip. The cover, alone, gives us some vague example of what to expect, something likely abstract with gilded inflections of ye olde unexpected. There are a dozen tracks to get to so let’s move this forth, shall we?
Heat Up the Death Ray opens with glints of tonal brightness. Something seems old-fashioned, like a motet at a renaissance fair, though a drawn-out, curved synth chord suddenly changes the shape of everything. As the Winter solstice sets in this is the type of track that will keep you warm this season. But expect an array of variance here as Fifty Two Hertz Whale plunges into the deep end. A happy-go-lucky poppy electronic short track with a fun flair – complete with a Middle Eastern allure and cyclical beat.
There are tracks that fuse queasy meandering and revel in percussion, and then there’s even a quasi dance track, Glossopteris, that sounds more like a disease than a night club. It never explodes into a true hipshaker, but it does combine askew, discordant layers that stalls the listener from hopping off your wingback, forcing you to listen to the duo’s cadre of chirping effects. Enter the Zero World That You Desire offers minimal beat alterations atop an otherwise new-agey style track. Throughout you can hear similar themes from O’Hara and Wenckebach, there’s the sense of a Lilliputian spirit built-in. The first track that fully grabs my attention is one of the shortest here, Ghost Doctors. It reminds me of the breaking point of Kim Carnes’ classic Voyeur as well as some mid 80s Joe Jackson riffs – but it recedes all too quickly leaving way for the Fairlight-style Jumping Bomb Angels that is milky, translucent, light and fluffy.
This will appeal to those who enjoy a crossbreed between, say, Tangerine Dream and The Grateful Dead – yes, it is in that hippy 70s space of fusion, between mediums. The record fits in this limbo, it has its floating points and is doused in a sense of hopefulness.