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julianna barwick & ikue mori - FRKWYS Vol. 6
Fresh from dropping her jaw-droppingly beautiful sophomore album The Magic Place, Julianna Barwick teams up with Ikue Mori of legendary New York no wavers DNA for a 12" of vocalisation and eldritch electronics. In the years since DNA tore apart the Gotham art scene, Mori has been busying herself as a distinguished developer of digital synth and drum machine and synth technology, and here she applies her considerable laptop chops to casting Barwick's plangent, patiently looped plainsong in a chattering, whirring, ever-shifting electronic setting that's too busy, mischievous and unsettling to be called ambient. The resulting work sounds resolutely modern, but has that eldritch, occluded quality of the BBC Radiophonic workshop and its hauntological devotees; it's certainly a more oblique and challenging listen than Barwick's more pop-influenced solo work. The music arose out of a performance commissioned by Manhattan's White Columns art space (which hosted Thurston Moore's seminal 1981 Noise Fest); something of a musical blind date, the duo improvised their parts live with a custom-built wall separating them, and the sounds they made were cut direct to vinyl via portable lathe. What you hear on this 12" isn't those lathe cuts, but rather recordings made in the same space a week later without an audience or dividing wall - "an exercise in actual engagement".