Boomkat Product Review:
It makes perfect sense that Markus Popp's latest was code-named "ASMR 2.0" - the collaboration with Vlatka Alec and SO's Eriko Toyoda is a fully dissociated deconstruction of poetry's human component. Popp distorts readings of Ovid and Ono No Komachi into fractal psychedelic pools of sibilance and tone > next level, bit surprisingly.
Conceived by German actress Vlatka Alec, "Ovidono" was intended to debut a new kind of musical storytelling. So trust Markus Popp to actually be able to handle the brief and put together an album that genuinely sounds as weird and exhilarating as its weighty concept. The root of the album is vocal performances from Alec and Toyoda: Toyoda reads Medieval Japanese waka poet Ono No Komachi, and Alec reads Roman poet Ovid. Popp's retains the essence of these readings while finding a way to present them in a new way.
Hearing the music without a description would make it difficult to unpick, but that doesn't detract from the record's ambition, its scale, or the surprising result. Popp works the vocals with a heady glee to his glitch manipulation on '90s gamechangers "Systemisch" and "94diskont.", slicing words into tiny fragments and smearing them carefully, modulating the pitch and subtly adding delay effects. He juxtaposes these vocal parts with clipped, minimal piano parts that lend the album a Sakamoto-esque charm, without capsizing the focus. It's not a solo piano album, it's a vocal record that makes fine use of the piano.
No particular track sticks out as central or pivotal, rather Popp curates a mood that he maintains gracefully throughout, turning what could have essentially been a dry brief into something that feels unexpectedly druggy, sensual - where words and sounds sound like cries and kisses, breaths and squeals - like an elegiac magma, belching intoxicating yellow clouds of psilocybin.