Review: Skullorian – Kozmosz Punci (Kimberly Dawn, 2011)

German sound skullptor (see what I did there?) Thomas Gerendás gracefully smears the borders between the original samples and recontextualizes them for the new, mapless territories of sound. Hailing from Cologne, the breeding ground of forward thinkers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen or Can, Gerendás uses the rich tradition of electronic experimentation for his own means, to mold some sort of musique concrete for the 21st century.

Kicking off from the foggy start, Skullorian gives us a fertile package – out of five compositions four range from 14 to 20 minutes, and the shortest one is nearly 9 minutes long. Which means we’re in for a deep trip. Because for those who aren’t already familiar with the German shaman, the mass of seemingly sourceless and shapeless sounds might appear a bit pretty overwhelming – but after a few repeated listens a sense of order and actual compositions is starting to emerge, accenting changes in rhythm, or the change of hazily convoluted “movement” – or anything that comes at least slightly close to be called an actual movement. For example, the opening self-titled track gradually uncovers a funky, bouncing beat, slightly Lynchian, like Amon Tobin quoting Angelo Badalamenti on Tobin’s trademark album Permutation, emerging from the sea of heavy, sinister cosmic drones.

The jazzy and funky elements hidden under ominous, thick cloud work as strangely relaxing elements that seems to exist for the sole fact of reminding the listener that they’re still listening to something made by an actual human. Or maybe rather, elements of old human transmission accidentally caught up in a non-human chaos of accidental, hostile sounds. The vintage samples sounds like the mere tools in the hands of a far more powerful, unknown power which crushes those human sounds and proves how the “normal” music is fragile and vulnerable to the crushing power of this otherworldly mess. Without any drugs, Gerendás replicates the hazy, murky effects of powerful psychedelics, creating an atmosphere of dense immersion filled with sourceless sounds that might be coming from anywhere at once. But with Skullorian’s music, the druggy effects are directed more towards the “bad trip” areas.

Buy the CD-R at Kimberly Dawn or at Skullorian’s blog.

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