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Cyril Bondi, Phonotopy – Komatsu

August 19, 2012

CD and free download

Komatsu is the title of a rather nice new album on the consistently strong Insubordinations net label by the duo of Cyril Bondi (floor tom and objects) and Phonotopy, the artist name of Yann Leguay, who is credited with Cracked Electronics, which on this occasion would appear to be old hard drives used like old school turntables. The album consists of a single half hour long piece of dense, heavily textured music that seems to flow out of the speakers in an almost physical manner, thickening the air and sticking to anything it touches. The duo manage to create a wall of sound that is rich with bassy depth and yet transparent enough for the layers of detail to be heard through it all. Nothing here sounds very much like a floor tom. Its hard to say what cracked hard drives should sound like, but I wouldn’t have had them high up my list if you asked me what instrumentation was at work here either. If anything the music here sounds like densely layered field recordings as much as anything. There is a similarity to something like Pisaro’s July Mountain, but the music that I am reminded of most is the various duo releases by Jason Kahn and Asher, perhaps as I am reminded of pressurised weather systems by this music in a similar way to that particular duo. Tonight as I have listened the atmosphere here is very humid indeed, following on from what I think was the hottest day of the year so far here, and for the first couple of listens through this evening, when I got in from work, I sat in the garden and listened with headphones. The way the music’s oppressive sensations combined with the humidity of the weather and the slowly gathering gloom of dusk made for a feeling of an impending storm, though sadly it never came.

Komatsu then is a highly skilled, carefully controlled album that inhabits a space and spreads out within it, making it entirely its own. It lives and breathes, inhales and exhales rather than shout and scream, but it is constantly alive, hairs bristling, continually on the brink of erupting but never quite doing so, thinning out in places as if to start to fall apart but in the end staying strong until a somewhat abrupt ending at the thirty-one minute mark. A strong one, but find out for yourself for free here and really, buy a copy if you think its worth it.

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