Israël Quellet

Oppressum

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Sound-qua-sound as a performing and recording element has arguably been the biggest change in musical perceptions over the previous hundred years, at least in a Western sense, so Israel Quellet's debut is less radical than natural, part of the continuing evolution of what can be done with "instruments" in the broadest sense of the word. The track titles sum up some of what's on offer -- samples include "For Percussion, Saturation and Throat Sounds" and "For Buckets Dragged on the Ground and Saturation" -- as does some of the cover art, featuring various familiar and unfamiliar objects being mic'ed up. The Swiss-born Quellet, however, does not simply concentrate on random sound but also on rigid rhythm created from his experiments, resulting in an often murky, tense atmosphere -- all the more appropriate given the album title -- that calls to mind some of the best work of acts like Cabaret Voltaire and Main as much as it does more conventional figures in the world of electro-acoustics (Jorge Campos lists himself as a Quellet fan). The echoed metallic beats, both severe and serene, on the opening "For Tank Strokes, Percussion and Voice" set this feeling, and from there it's almost a matter of seeing what Quellet will turn into the beat and what becomes the "melody," if in an unconventional sense. The combination of squelches and squeaks throughout "For Percussion and Sound Toys" sounds like what happens when doggy chew toys are trained to parade-march, while the brutalist clipped growls on "For Voice, Laughter, Percussion and Organ" act as counterpoint to the almost Akufen-like swirl of brief vocal exclamations and sounds.

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