Music Reviews

Artist: Voicehandler (@)
Title: Song Cycle
Format: CD
Label: Humbler Records
Rated: *****
The cover states, 'You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end.' This is the initial introduction to the first collaboration between Jacob Felix Heule (percussion and electronics) and Danishta Rivero (voice and hydrophonium). I was unfamiliar with these artists, but it seems that Heule has been in or collaborated with a host of other bands, including Beauty School, Addleds, Ettrick, Mirror Trio, and Basshaters. According to the artists, this album 'comprises different nontraditional approaches to the song form. It explores ideas of our origins and what it means to be human, as presented in mythology and literature. Each song is based on an individual text including the Yekuana (native Venezuelan) creation story, and works by Jorge Luis Borges, William S. Burroughs, and Knut Hamsun.' With Borges and Burroughs on board, I'm definitely interested, so let's check this out. 'Soñando' opens the disc with marimba and long, clear female vocals. The music provides a kind of incantation / shamanistic feel, with the marimba and the eventual addition of timbales. However, at three and a half minutes in, it sounds like she is choking which, for me, detracted from the overall feel of the piece. 'Empty And Without Pain' brings the percussion to the forefront, sparse at first, but becoming increasingly insistent over time, with grating female vocalizations. This one tacks between calm and peaceful and violent stabs of sound. 'A Meager Labyrinth' is a wonderful sparse and melancholy track that is the standout track for me on the disc. It's languid vocals and dreamy ambience provide a stark contrast to 'Mi Falible Mano,' with its disjointed vocals and music that feels much more random and spastic than the other tracks. 'I Am A Recording Instrument' finishes the disc off with chaotic, noisy composition with a cicada-like buzz that permeates much of the track and eventually becomes a low buzzing drone seven minutes in. The rest of the track is an exercise in minimalism with breathing and low volume singing that you have to turn way up to even hear. Overall, this is an interesting album, but I get the sense that this translates better into live performance, so they would definitely be worth checking out if they are playing near you.

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