Compound form. COPPICE
(Triple Bath 2013)

Review by David Vélez

Spoiler alert.

The Chicago duo of Joseph Kramer and Noé Cuéllar (Coppice) were responsible for one of the really interesting releases of 2012 ‘Holes / Tract’ on British label Consumer Waste. This time they return with ‘Compound form’ published by Greek label Triple Bath managed by Themistoklis Pantelopoulos.

In the beginning ‘Compound form’ seems to be about details and subtleness, about a slow emotional narrative that progresses; about moments of profound depth and careful formal construction where a beautiful and sinister tension start to build up.

After a quiet and delicate start the sinister tension builds up an equally sinister mood of strong and dark beauty. This haunting fragment is for me the emotional peak of this composition establishing a dramatic and anticipating moment that completely immersed me in a mood of anxiety and astonishment.

…then the work goes from sinister to chaotic: sounds of different and contrasting forms begin to overlap and interrupt each other creating this acoustic confusion that eventually fades out…This chaotic moment helps me to reflect about the series of events I have witnessed while listening to ‘Compound form’ perceiving a story with a very organic and entropic narrative that went from creation to destruction, and in some way, from a certain sense of order to a sense of chaos.

The confusion is followed by a very intense fragment where annoyance and beauty blend into a vast and arid mood. Finally the piece fades out and closes by depicting this sad and lonely place, which builds an emotional atmosphere of despair where we can foresee the end approaching…

…and then it’s all gone.

‘Compound form’ is a very strong composition, this is musical narrative at its highest potency; these are human emotions and thoughts effectively activated by sound, building an intimate, personal story where the only character is the listener and his subjective view.

Go and listen.

[Joseph Kramer: left,  Noé Cuéllar: right.
Photograph: Nathan Keay, 2011 from Coppice’s website]

Coppice website
Triple Bath website

David Vélez

David Vélez (PhD) is a Colombian sonic artist studying the acoustics of food, working in the intersection between sound ethnography and plant bioacoustics. His work oversteps the boundaries of installation art, field recordings, composition, performance and commensality exploring gardens, kitchens and open food markets as exhibition spaces. Vélez is interested in the strategic artistic possibility of sound and its invisible, immersive, unstable and fluctuating material, attrubutes shared with the nourishing transference of energy in food.