Album Review

Coppice – “Big Wad Excisions” – [Quakebasket]

abacus   12/11/2013   A Library, CD


Chicago based duo of Joseph Kramer and Noe Cuellar relocated to Louisville for a freshly focused exposition of their unique approach to electroacoustic experimentation. What is particularly unique here is for one the technology: fusing primitive discarded artifacts (prepared pump organ, bellows, cassette tapes, karaoke machines, customized boomboxes) with techinically advanced modern techniques (electromagnetic interference, microphonic oscillator, digital sampler). Also the intentions here are for an “impression of transparency” allowing the natural textural elements to stand prominently in the music. The album demonstrates this style progressively adding instruments with each track, starting on Snuck Keel with the raw pump organ in all its raspy rattling glory and then with Impulses introducing the electromagnetic crackle that gives way to a rhythmic billowing thump. The 16 min long Sop starts as a distant steam train riding down a windy winter canyon and as 6 mins approaches a somnambulist’s soliloquy sets in and serenades us back to sleep. The final Hoist Spell adds another pump organ and combines all the previous elements employed: gentle droning tonalities, static crackling and breezy climates for the sweeping finale. This is music that sounds like no other, both familiar and soothing, foreign and alarming. A universe unto itself.

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