Boomkat Product Review:
Last seen alongside Flora Yin-Wong on the ace "Doyenne 001", Susu Laroche joins the Accidental Meetings family for her sophomore album, using Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle to inspire her grim dabke abstractions.
French-Egyptian artist Susu Laroche isn't interested in making art that deals in half measures. Her last few releases have wrung out the artistic potential from Georgian monarchs, ancient poetry and 19th century occultists, and this one takes its cues from 'Earthsea', following the narrative of a shadow creature (or gebbeth) and the process of submission or resistance.
On 'Close to the Thing that Fled', Laroche's voice represents both the gebbeth and the soul, using a book of Persian poetry to inspire her lyrics, swirling like thick black smoke around her sludgy dabke-driven productions. Typically for an artist who's produced her own run of tarot cards, her music is hard to decode, veering from nursery rhyme darkness to rugged, bass-heavy rhythmic expression from track to track.
On 'Washing Touch Off' Laroche douses her voice in reverb, comig over like Trish Keenan blurred into a ritual chant that's slowly stripped away to reveal a beating kick drum and faint, choral traces. Dabke drums lead 'The Gebbeths Way' while simultaneously referencing Fever Ray, before Laroche's voice chants like a mystical Eartheater over haunted strings and compressed subs, looping into clouded, disintegrated bliss. Laroche somehow obscures orchestral motifs and squiggly electro elements with the pacing and structure of her songs; 'Find Out' might have been pop if it was handled even slightly differently, but her unsettled rhythms - think Shackleton or Tropic of Cancer - gift it such a high level of tension that it turns in on itself, coughing up a darkness that's almost uncomfortable to behold.
Strong, distinctive work.