This will be a two part review, as I have received the ‘That Special Record’ LP for this month at work and can’t actually play it until I get home. So while I have 15 minutes of my lunch break left I will tell you that it is with some trepidation that I will be putting this on the turntable tonight. Why? well, let me explain. Once again I’d never heard of the Artist, which is not a bad thing, so I did a little search online and found some other tracks by them. The artist is ‘Senyawa’ and the album is called ‘Brønshøj (Puncak)’, which I didn’t find but the other tracks of theirs I listened too were really not to my liking at all.
To quote from Discogs: Pushing their powerful experiments further into uncharted waters Wukir Suryadi and Rully Shabara Herman has once again joined forces on a new Senyawa album. The combination of Rully’s extreme vocal techniques and the curious output from Wukir’s homemade string instrument, the bambu wukir, still sounds like nothing else on Spaceship Earth.
This is what I found online as a taster for what I was to listen to this evening:
Mostly nope nope nope. Not my thing at all. It’s all a bit emperors new clothes to me, some people say it’s amazing, pure art, magic, spiritual, exceptional and who am I to disagree? Except I do. It feels like a bit of performance art to me, which is interesting for a little while but once the performance is over there’s no desire to hear it again.
The above was disappointing for a new LP.
So I will listen to the album tonight and, well, I may have a completely different opinion then. You’ll find out in the next paragraph.
Later the same day:
Godamnit Miguel at That Special Record, seriously, what the hell is this? I’ve clearly set the whole thing up above to lessen the blow when I hate the record you sent, except I don’t, you’re playing with my mind.
It’s not really like the video above at all, it’s much more produced, smoother around the edges and, I have to say it, the first track of Side 2, Brønshøj 4, is an absolute corker. The track list is pretty easy, it’s Brønshøj 1-3 on Side 1 and Brønshøj 4-5 on Side 2.
The bambu wukir is cello like at times and at others it’s percussive, and occasionally the dissonance is borderline nails down a blackboard, but not so often that it grates. There’s a nice ambience to the sound and to the music, drone like at times, occasional melodies, but most of all interesting, and surprisingly listenable.
I really don’t know what to say now, I wasn’t prepared for this. OK, so, it’s a nice artefact, a limited edition of 300 with a small print on the inside with some explanatory text and a photo, a screen print around the cover by Danish visual artist Kasper Lynge Jensen and, of course, the postcard from Miguel.
I was surprised, I always am, but having been prepared to hate this album, never more so than today.
Still slightly peeved about the cover damage though, which I blame on the materials used, it’s un-laminated cardboard, so it was almost bound to happen.