Komora A’s Mercury Time (MONOTYPE RECORDS monoMC003) cassette was released in 2013, created by the team of Dominik Kowalczyk, Karol Koszniec, and Jakub Mikołajczyk, working with various equipments – computers, synths, contact mics, radio signals. We have heard them before with one half of a split single with Cremaster, called ‘Crystal Dwarf Opens His Eyes’, where we noted a serious lack of force and energy behind their “melange of analogue and digital synth porridge”. We could say the same about the vague, understated tones on Mercury Time, but today’s spin is surprisingly rewarding and may fit the bill if you’re hungering for a few slices of uncertain, ambiguous non-musical gruel in your diet. It tends to cling to the listener like a fine drizzle, or follow you around like a grey fog. The recordings are all from 2004-2005 and were recorded in various venues in Warsaw; guest Polish electronica artists Emiter and Arszyn appear on the last track.
From Angélica Castelló is a cassette tape called Silvertone E Il Sentimento Oceanico (MONOTYPE RECORDS monoMC002), released as a cassette by Monotype Records in 2013. We have a lot of time for this Mexican genius ever since we heard her Bestiario in 2011, but we also know her through Sonic Blue (2015); her appearance on Scuba with Billy Roisz, Burkhard Stangl and Dieb13 for Mikroton; and as part of the SQID collective for the same label. If we’ve learned anything about this trained academician in this time, it’s that she often records using the Subgreatbass Paetzold Recorder (a formidable woodwind instrument from the recorder family often associated with early music consorts), and that she has a recurring interest in the creatures of the deep blue sea. This latter preoccupation can also be discerned on the present release, not just in the jellyfish on the cover of the booklet, but the whole of side one ‘Adela Aurita’ which to my hyper-active imagination presents an abstracted version of a trip to the ocean floor, a descent in a bathysphere to the watery depths. It’s long been a feature of electro-acoustic composition that one must strive to represent a metaphysical journey in sound. Radio signals, distorted announcements, angelic voices, and layers of constructed sound all create a splendid soundtrack for the “rapture of the deep”, which I think was once a quaint way of describing “The Bends”. A very nice magical-realist charmer of a composition. The B side contains ‘Tuba Piece’, another fascinating jumble of sounds and layers that amounts to a rich, complex mosaic of music, percussion and noise; and ‘Limacina (Blütenschmuck)’, a more downbeat droney episode that stresses the mysterious and ambiguous side of Castelló’s music, packed with muffled and unresolved sounds and events. Her sparring partner Billy Roisz contributed some sketches to the booklet, as did Hanna Schimeck and Urkuma. In all, an overlooked gem with many moments of dream-like, precious beauty, sumptuous images which disappear as soon as they materialise.