Boomkat Product Review:
Brilliantly cut-up soundtrack to Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny’s audio-visual drama; ‘Phantom Kino Ballett’ smartly blurring the lines between soundtrack and mixtape in a way recalling the best Demdike Stare mixes, but taken to a more purposeful level of arrangement, with a whole side of original material by Willikens & Szczesny on the b side.
Salon Des Amateurs' Lena Willikens has already carved out a reputation as one of the most interesting and varied selectors around, fuelled by years of experience DJing on the radio and at her residency at Salon Des Amateurs, together with a rarified knowledge of outernational rhythms and weirdo techno. We’ve been waiting for a proper follow up to her Phantom Delia EP for Cómeme back in 2015 - a properly unique, brilliant EP of darkside dancefloor mystique heavily influenced by '80s wave heritage, and she now comes good on this collab with Sarah Szczesny (with whom she studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy) for this mixtape/score for audiovisual performance piece Phantom Kino Ballett, incorporating elements of video art and dance.
It would spoil the surprise to give away too much of the tracklist, but suffice to say this is the first tape we’ve ever heard that transitions between Bowie, Amanda Leer and Silvia Plath, or makes such brilliant use of Liz Taylor, one of many strong female presences telling a “story of domestic dissociation, public scrutiny and suffering”on the tape’s A-side.
The B-side, however, is the real prize here, unfurling a 40 minute soundscape called "Passage Transkript" created by Willikens & Szczesny inspired by their time in Kyoto, Japan during autumn 2017 and tapping into the most evocative turns of abstract soundscaping imaginable.
All Commend proceeds from this release will be donated to agisra e.V., a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of migrant women and against sexual and racist violence. agisra is based in Cologne, Germany, and was chosen by Lena and Sarah. — agisra.org.