Jaap Blonk / Maja Ratkje

Post-Human Identities

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The follow-up to Majaap, this duo's first album, came out in Kontrans' Electronic Music Series, which gives a first pointer as to how different it is. Post-Human Identities sounds closer to Fe-M@il, Maja Ratkje's noise duo with Hild Sofie Tafjord, especially in the opening 18-minute piece, "Rotary Torso Extension." The Scandinavian vocalist uses samplers, effects, and her trusty dictaphone. Jaap Blonk brings to the table his computer, samplers, and effects. The result is a joyously cacophonous blend of heavily processed shouts and gargles. Pitch bending, speed variation, and looping are heavily featured. The naked voices of Ratkje and Blonk still appear here and there, mostly as beacons signaling a shift in direction within a piece. Blonk has considerably developed his electronic vocabulary since Averschuw, the solo album on which he unveiled his interest in electronic treatments. This post-human meeting is actually as fruitful and well balanced as Ratkje and Blonk's earlier acoustic effort. They obviously share the same kind of slapstick humor, no matter the medium. "Rotary Torso Excursion" is the most demanding track, its harsh textures and sharp turns seemingly designed specifically to lose the listener. "Of Strange Abductors" and "No Ecliptical Strainers" take a softer approach, letting the naked voice through, building bridges between the acoustic and the electronic. "The Abominable Crunch" comes back to a more densely treated form of improvisation, strongly reminiscent of the material found on Ratkje's solo album Voice. Post-Human Identities was recorded live in May 2004 at three consecutive concerts.

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