Boomkat Product Review:
The final part of Austrian composer Curd Duca's Waves trilogy is also its most accomplished, a forensic examination of sound and European culture that lodges a tongue firmly in cheek at all times. Who said sound art was joyless?
When Curd Duca re-appeared after a two decade absence it felt like a cool breeze on a warm day - a reminder that somewhere in Vienna, the veteran innovator had still been applying his unique vision to a swatchbook of sounds, collecting everything for eventual deployment. "Waves 3" is the third and final part in this fresh trilogy that picked up where 2000's Mille Plateaux-released "Elevator 3" left off. Like its predecessors, "Waves 3" examines a wide spread of source material, from church bells and folksy zithers to pop music loops and GRM-damaged percussion.
It's all part of Duca's magnifying glass-view of central European culture and how it's been disseminated in the last few decades. His Mille Plateaux run was known for its often surreal abstraction of pop art and advertising, and while the "Waves" trilogy opts for a more subtle approach, the end goal is very similar. By treating his sound sources in a non-hierarchal manner, Duca shows very clearly how he feels about concepts of high and low art, or important and extraneous sound. So birdsong from a bedroom window can be just as ornate as the pealing of church bells, and bargain bin mid-century folk pop is just as ripe for sampling as a canonical underground techno tome.
Listening to clips doesn't do the album justice at all - absorbing it from beginning to end you get a full sense of Duca's creative outlook. Tracks are brief, but pointed - nothing overstays its welcome and the cut-and-paste approach almost makes it feel like a mixtape, with beatmatching replaced with mood and cultural juxtaposition. It's a bizarre and brilliant dadaist journey into self-effacing Austrian culturemaxing - experimental music can be fun, see? Massive recommendation.