Boomkat Product Review:
FatCat compete their groundbreaking Split Series with complementary sides by operatic psychopomp Ian William Craig and Estonian folk singer Kago after nearly a quarter century of surprises. Time to release that fake Pole 12" lads?
The Split Series was minted in 1997 with a 12” shared by Third Eye Foundation and V/Vm, and it's since hosted some of modern electronic music’s most vital artists, from Gescom to Konono No.1, Merzbow and Katie Gately, with each instalment typically contrasting and complementing pairs of radical artists on one record. Their 24th and final edition of the series sees them match sides by two artists who share a northerly latitude and experimental attitude, but are separated by thousands of miles, with Canada’s Ian William Craig working at the rudest limits of his mutant neo-classical style, while Estonian poet Kago channels ancient tradition and quietly cosmic energies in a suite of electro-folk curios.
It’s a fine send off to a reliably off-the-wall series which has turned up some real gems over the years, and which arguably broke the mould for curating adventurous new music, with ‘Split Series 24’ keeping up their remit to the end. Star of experimental contemporary classical Ian William Craig takes the opportunity to explore the limits of his style with ‘Because It Speaks,’ an 19 minute tract of foghorn blasts and keening vox that sounds like a death knell for the world, hard recalling classic Deathprod, but with Craig’s patented, blasted textures in ravishing effect. It’s then left to Kago to see off the final side with a collection of songs sung in Seto, the language of a tiny, indigenous Finno-Ugric ethnic minority in Estonia’s south-east, and set to nithered folk strings and cut-up dictaphone recordings in totally absorbing and charming style. While he’s been on FatCat’s radar since 2006, it’s remarkably his first international release, and bound to snag attention from fans of the Fonal label (Paavoharju, Islaja) or Stroom’s recent Estonian exploits.
Toodle pip, ta for the mad tunes!