Boomkat Product Review:
Grandiose electro-acoustic composition from Munich’s Sophie Schnell aka Pyur, refining the styles heard on her 2016 Hotflush debut into a mix of distended, crunchy IDM-techno swarmed with symphonic chorales and strings. RIYL Zoe McPherson or Roly Porter
“Munich’s PYUR (Sophie Schnell) makes her Subtext debut with “Oratorio for the Underworld”, a nimble odyssey through vivid, otherworldly dreams. Growing up immersed in her family’s work as shamans, Schnell draws on the techniques and stories of her upbringing, through which ephemeral forms, stories and colours seep into her sound—a synthesis of hyperreal sound design, dramaturgy and classical composition.
PYUR’s fascination with the space between life and death is expressed through the weaving together of the organic and sublime in a dramatic exercise in expansive sonic worldbuilding. The LP is a form of storytelling in which Schnell reimagines and takes on the roll of psychopomp, ushering the listener into a borderless realm. She relays rich legends while warm, airy timbres (courtesy of cellist Teresa Alvarez and violinist Juan Zalba Fuentes) serve as guides throughout.
Working largely in isolation over a period of two years, Oratorio for the Underworld is a document of “inward archaeology,” and marks an intimate yet grandiose journey through the psyche, exploring the ecstatic emotional boundaries between life and death, and body and spirit. Over the two year period, Schnell constantly found herself inventing new and unconventional compositional techniques with which to keep her writing dynamic—a process key in countering her own obsession with the mythos of Oratorio.”