Boomkat Product Review:
Probing duo performances for cello, tape, and ondes Martenot recorded during Okkyung Lee’s 2019 Cafe Oto Residency; the type of experimental gristle that'll leave you floating with bits in your ear’s teeth.
Among the most fearless and fearsome improvisors in her field, virtuoso cellist Okkyung Lee helms these two recordings made at London’s cherished experimental music and arts hotbed with two highly adept collaborators. As the venue’s label point out, “the two meetings seem to raise three cellos in the search for expressive voice: the cello, it’s magnetic reproduction, and the dual controls of the machine invented to expand on its musical qualities”, with Lee’s devilish tekkerz intersecting her opponent/collaborators at hugely compelling and beguiling avant angles.
In the first half her extraordinary cello dexterities bind with their ferric reflections in Noetinger’s Revox B77 tape mutations, seemingly unravelling and knotting simultaneously in a bewildering, straightjacket tangle of horse hair and tape. The 2nd part is even more intriguing to us, where the cello meets its more technical offspring, the ondes Martenot (as fancied by Bernard Parmegiani, Varese and Messiaen), capably handed by Ratsimandresy in a way that pushes each operator to the limits of their instrument, with strange murmuring low register patterns scrawled over by searching string graffiti, then vapourising into precise high frequencies and bending to whistling martial melodies and swarming attack with a shatterproof quality.