Not to generalize or be one of those people, but it seems to be a recognizable motif of popular music that — absent a genuine desire to find talented musicians — producers and engineers have no choice but to resort to musical overdressing, designed to obfuscate what would otherwise be an all-too-apparent vapidity. Compress this, compress that. Add a backup vocal track from someone who can actually sing here. ALERT: hackneyed song about heterosexual relationships coming down the pipeline. Quick, Steve, muster all the synthesized strings you can find! No, you can’t have too many, you son of a bitch!
It’s the musical equivalent of orcs at a masquerade ball, but luckily, the world’s been blessed with its opposite: orcs playing tackle football? No, wait.
The opposite is music stripped to its essence, and Ghil, the newest solo release from Korean cellist/composer Okkyung Lee, reportedly takes that very approach. Out June 24 on Ideologic Organ, the album was produced and recorded by Norwegian artist Lasse Marhaug using a secondhand portable cassette recorder. And that’s it. There were no effects added before, during, or after the fact, and there was no overdubbing. Excepting what was some presumably minor editing and minimal mastering, Ghil takes Lee’s experimental cello work and offers it bare, raw, and appropriate for the parent label, noisy. Contrast the track below with her earlier, more jazzy work, and it barely sounds like she’s playing the same instrument.
Who’s up for some soul-staring? Pre-order the LP here.
1.1. The Crow Flew After Yi Sang
1.2. Two To Your Right, Five To Your Left
1.3. Strictly Vertical
1.4. The Space Beneath My Grey Heart
2.2. Hollow Water
2.3. Two Perfectly Shaped Stones
2.4. Meolly Ganeun
2.5. Over The Oak, Under The Elm