Felix Kubin / Hubert Zemler


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CEL Review

by Paul Simpson

CEL is a somewhat surprising collaboration between Polish percussionist Hubert Zemler and German eccentric Felix Kubin, both of whom are highly prolific and eclectic, but seem worlds apart in terms of their respective approaches and interests. Zemler is a classically trained drummer who has worked with a wide variety of free jazz, new music, and avant-rock ensembles, in addition to performing improvised solo concerts. Kubin has a vast, confounding discography full of Dadaist synth pop, radio plays, film music, industrial noise, and much more. Here, they manage to find common ground, laying down motorik rhythms and surrounding them with unsteady, whirring electronics and curious melodies. The results are as fun and playful as they are tense and mysterious, with colorful percussion arrangements dancing together with flashy synth sequences. Moments like "Elektrybałt" and "Funkenkammer" could be D.A.F. writing the score to a suspenseful action movie, while "Jimmy Carter" is on a wacky Raymond Scott trip, particularly when the jazzy hi-hats and silly xylophones come in at the very end. The duo end up complementing each other brilliantly, as their ideas flow spontaneously yet are executed with precision, resulting in a genuinely free-spirited, joyous work.

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