Boomkat Product Review:
‘Surreal Air Fortress’ yields a series of liminal electro-acoustic enigmas and stark, poetic vocals by Chicago’s Coppice duo for Antwerp’s ever-probing Entr’acte label.
Cryptically weft from acoustic, studio-based recordings, digital production and processed field recordings, Surreal Air Fortress presents a suite of “songs for physical modelling and modular syntheses” by Noé Cuéllar and Joseph Kramer a.k.a. Coppice.
Melding sparingly used, solemn vocals with atonal sounds at oblique angles, the album carries itself with a dead curious mix of brute elegance and incisive abstraction according to a logic that’s brilliantly hard to unpick, and a strange pleasure to undergo.
The A-side’s Inside songs feel out three psychoacoustically probing scenarios ranging from a mix of David Sylvian-like vocals and ghostly, inverted industrial clangour in Privacy and Difference to the pure atonality of coils and fans fed thru an “inductive mixing table” on Surveillance, before the Sylvian-like vocals return amid a thicket of barbed guitar and prickling electronics in the charred rubble of The Wall.
B-side, the album goes to the Darkroom, gradually revealing three uncertain sound images that evolve from the bracing inharmonic distortion of Exposure to emerge ghostly from the murk of Solvent/Emulsion into what sounds like a fractured gothic torch song recorded by a shooting range in Wet Hologram.
Where so much music gives the answers before you’ve even asked a question, this album is a riddle within a riddle.