Voicehandler – “Song Cycle” – [Humbler]
Wow, excellent local Oakland duo on the Humbler label.
Jacob Felix Heule, no stranger to KFJC nor to strangeness,
teams up with Danishta Rivero. Rivero is more than just
a pretty voice (although her plaintive song and scratchy
ch-ch-choked up parts make for an enchanting intro. She
also (wo)mans the Hydrophonium, an experimental instrument
of her own design apparently.
She gets pretty Shelley Hirschy, and Heule bows on things
without strings for “empty and without pain.” Rivero’s voice
is often the focused approach, but Heule’s backing plunky
percussion and deft electronics are not deferential. “a
meager labyrinth” is a drift with sonic fog, “mi falible
mano” has Rivero doing the vocal histrionics of either
the avant garde or a demonic possession. Ideally both.
The album ends with bang, not a whimper or an exorcism.
Heule’s percussion more present, with cymbal and snare,
Rivero, tracked into the machine and overdubbing, is
this a re-mix of the earlier pieces? Everything all at
once, forever? While I’m not sure I follow the text
through the cycle, their reading list (Borges, Burroughs
and Hamsun) is on the money for me (check liner notes).
SF Arts felt proud of this duo too, aiding this Humbler
work with a 2012 grant. Listen up!