Boomkat Product Review:
Split between tremulous, frothing structures and grandiose, discordant modular synth music, ‘Teenages’ is the debut from Pakistani-American jazz drummer/percussionist Qasim Naqvi for Erased Tapes, and the vinyl follow-up to his first LP, 2015’s ‘Preamble’ for NNA Tapes
“This album is one singular synergy between Qasim and his machine within a broader milieu of sound, also explored by contemporaries Sarah Davachi, Alessandro Cortini, Caterina Barbieri and also the forefather, Morton Subotnick. At points tonal, textural and rhythmic, over six evolving and growing audio organisms, the album flourishes upwards in stages, from initial micro-sonics to something bigger, brighter and anthemic.
This is Naqvi’s first non-soundtrack release, having previously established himself as a renowned composer for dance, theatre, film and installation-based art, not to mention his role as drummer in lauded trio Dawn of Midi. According to Naqvi, “my past releases like Chronology, Preamble, Fjoloy and Film were made to accompany visual mediums. The music was always written to enhance another form. Teenages is the first album with its own motivating force. It’s a live multi movement work that I recorded for myself.”
With Teenages, Naqvi summoned all the material on an analog modular synthesizer – a voltage-controlled sound generating system comprised of multiple modules. Naqvi built this synth over the course of two years and amassed a collection of works for this album.
Capturing a live feeling without the aid of heavy studio production was an important component to this release: “Even though this is ‘electronic music,’ I didn’t want to rely heavily on a computer with an array of plugins, loops and samples, or exhaustive editing as part of the writing process. I wanted to treat this work like a live piece of music and have the natural behavior of the machine shine through and sound huge, like an orchestra of electrical signals.”
Gently stuttering like a time lapse-video of a seed sprouting up from the earth, Intermission sets the scene, before musical motifs begin to emerge on the dancing, bubbling bassline of Mrs 2E, which possesses a playful, infantile quality, like a new-born animal learning to walk after birth.”