Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Although we respect the idea of pedigree when it comes to racehorses and dogs, it's often harder to make the case for the offspring of great musicians.
But this London-based electronica duo of Naima Karlsson and Kenichi Iwasa would suggest synth/keyboard player Karlsson has certainly inherited some interesting musical sensibilities from her grandfather Don Cherry, her mother Neneh and her father Bruce Smith (the latter of The Pop Group and PIL).
That said, don't come here expecting much like Don or Neneh did.
These three strange, other-world instrumentals – with Iwasa on everything from guitar, kalimba, trumpet and plastic plumbing parts – exists in a place closer to music for art installations (yes, Karlsson is an artist/photographer also) or soundtracks for films about foreboding futures (one piece is named for a character in Ridley Scott's Black Rain, Charlie Vincent).
The 22 minute opener Dot 2 Dot opens with a spare and powerful acoustic piano motif recorded with a long, suspended decay before it resolves through what sounds like a wooden flute-cum-saxophone into a piece of improvised atmospheric sound, abstract but deftly beat-conscious noise and staccato effects and . . .
Yes, there is some interesting Cherry-like trumpet from Iwasa in the final five minutes (plus some substructure effects like Jon Hassell has been processed into submission) and that piano remains the anchor the whole way.
If the evocative Charlie Vincent hadn't been named for the Black Rain character (played by Andy Garcia) you would get the sense of urban menace from its slow soundscape cut across by dissonant trumpet squeals and clinking child's toy piano (perhaps?).
Those who remember Jed Town/Fetus Productions works like Tokyo Rain and Flicker in the Eighties will feel uncomfortably at home.
The final piece, the six minute Canis Major, is a further voyage into cold space (the cosmos and emotional) and the clanking technology taking the damaged capsule out there.
As always, Elsewhere writes about music which is not always for everyone and right from that uncompromising opener, gripping though it is, Customer's Copy will be a challenge for all but those who are familiar with the reference points.