Boomkat Product Review:
A brilliantly singular record that appeared back in 2013 like some kind of sonic aberration, never to be repeated, this hypermodern soundclash was pieced together by New York based composer and conceptual sound artist Marina Rosenfeld and features virtuoso cellist Okkyung Lee and, strikingly, The Bug collaborator Warrior Queen. For our money it's one of the most surreal, futuristic records of the 2010’s. Imagine Eleh making an experimental, subs-heavy, ultra-minimal dancehall record - this is basically it.
The inter-dimensional blend of Warrior Queen's vocals and Okkyung Lee’s electro-acoustic scapes, framed by the intense frequency modulations of Rosenfeld, push our buttons like no other; we can draw lines outwards to Rashad Becker, Kode 9, Ryoji Ikeda, The Bug and Laurie Anderson, all playing at once, somehow of one mind.
Adapted from a series of quasi-sculptural sound system installations, 'P.A. / Hard Love' unfolds around morphing location recordings with unstable acoustic parameters, or "tuned atmospheres" as the label put it, in electronic soundfields strafed with eerie sci-fi tones and complex synthesizer patterns. Warrior Queen sounds like she was dialled in as a mischievous AI presence; something like a character in the latter chapters of Neuromancer, singing and spitting amidst the laser zaps and gyroscopic diffusions of 'New York / It's All About', or digitally shredded as a flickering, holographic simulation against the abstract ragga-tech refractions of 'I Launch An Attack' and the titular 'Hard Love’ - the real standout here.
Most crucial to the record's appeal, though, is that constantly morphing patina of electro-acoustic flux; like the scramble suit in Philip K Dick's 'A Scanner Darkly', perpetually shifting and realigning your ear's focus between the peripheries and the foreground with something approaching a slow, controlled, cybernetic psychedelia. It really is a stunning, highly idiosyncratic record, one of the decade’s real sleeper classics.