It’s always tricky road testing new records using dodgy record store headphones – battling the shop sound system in attempt to decipher whether your potential purchase sounds like a car indicator on repeat or is, in fact, epic experimental techno.
Both Phonica and Kristina in-store checks by various Inverted Audio writers resulted in an initial dismissal, for the latest album offering from Geigling’s offshoot Forum. Thankfully the, ever excellent, Kristina staff chucked a copy on the shop speakers and as with anything in the experimental home listening vein, this best comes alive on a decent system.
Now, who might be this Sa Pa? The Japanese title “Fuubutsushi” apparently translates as ‘a poet’s reminder of a specific season’ yet given the distinctly occidental linguistic flourishes of the track titles, it feels unlikely that this mysterious artist is indeed Japanese. Perhaps we should just assume it’s one of the Geigling mob and concentrate on the music.
The early parts of the album offer dislocated dance floor grit in ‘Russolo‘ and reductionist dub techno efforts with both ‘Adelaide‘ and ‘Steppenwolf‘ excelling in a harsh cv313 style. However, things really become interesting when Sa Pa deploys left-field production techniques, building rhythms from obscure field recordings and samples.
‘Cagean Cramps’ buries metallic scrapings and unintelligible voices deep in the mix with a surround of bristling pops and crackles. Deconstructions of, what sound like, deranged Heath Robinson robots humping combine with other unidentifiable looped sonics to propel tracks like ‘Pessel’ and ‘Underwater Rock Walk’. Muted kicks are just about the only recognisable starting point when it comes to identifying sound sources here. Snares and hats barely get a look in – replaced by spiky broken clicks, rasping oddities, street sounds and even a touch of birdsong.
As the title alludes, this is very much an album of memories and reminders – perhaps a collection of that jumble of abstract sounds that rattle around the echo chamber of your mind after a big night out dancing. A brittle, broken audio hallucinogen – mixing the outside world with the club and creating a compelling netherworld in the process.
Fuubutsushi is out now, order a vinyl copy from Phonica.
1. Deya Navigation
5. Boss Walks
8. Cagean Cramps
10. Underwater Rock Walk