Released on November 10th, 2k17 via clang on the digital circuit is “Onomatopeia”, the first ever album release by the Danish duo of Anders Holst and Yann Coppier, who’ve been collaborating in other projects but never entered the studio as a joined forces team before. Together they deliver a body of work comprised of eleven tracks, starting with a “Promise Of Something” in which the mentioned something turns out to be a cold and futuristic, beatless take on cold stellar winds and tense, metallic SciFi Ambient followed by a “Pinto Bird”, pairing the machine movements and computational processes of a dystopian space lab with carefully crafted atmospheric layers and sirens on tilt mode before “Empty Letters” gets even more intense, setting all senses to alarm mode whilst providing the darkest, most spine-tingling take on Deep Space Electronica we’ve come across in ages, taking us straight into a captivating retrofuturist sci-fi flic possibly directed by John Carpenter or the likes of.
With “Somebody Is Peeing On My Tent” Anders Holst & Yann Coppier provide more of a melancholia-inducing, partly even mournful Ambient vision featuring sad overtones, plucked guitar strings as well as a kind of background noise crescendo, “A Delicate Fate” consists of delicate soundwaves building up, combining heartfelt sadness and calming Ambient in a close to perfect manner whereas the “Magic Mouth” utters a minimalist arrangement of Cosmic Synth tones to a highly soothing, heart-warming effect. The 9+ minutes long “Ultima Necat” seems to resemble disconcerting Field Recordings transmitted back to us from a far and distant future, delivering evidence of things unimaginable to our recent minds, “Butoh Dancers Throwing Darts” caters a menu of extraterrestrial distortions and echo-heavy mechanical sounds falling together as a take on hyper-minimalistic Electronica Dub before the final cut describes “Toot’s Long Painful Death”, an alienating experience as well as a cathartic, yet non-violent transition into other worlds.
Sound artists and performers Anders Holst and Yann Coppier are telling strange stories through live synthetic performances. Two ways of listening, one way to create music. Butoh dancers are throwing darts, empty letters fly and fantastic landscapes arise. Meanwhile, somebody is peeing on your tent… The newly formed Copenhagen-based duo that also play together as members of the live guitar surround band Cirklen, aims at redefining what electronic music could be if musicians could still listen to each other.
Yann Coppier plays analog synths, live programming and aggressive soundscapes
Anders Holst plays electric guitar/synth, effects and amplifiers
All tracks composed and performed by Anders Holst & Yann Coppier
Mix and master by Yann Coppier at Studio Ovale
The press bumpf that came with this release, states that this is a collection of aggressive soundscapes created with live synth, programming and guitars; and as such, on paper, sounded right up my street.
As a whole, this isn’t bad at all. Without being as challenging as I first suspected, a lot of ‘Onomatopeia’ is ambient driven, regardless of the instrumentation utilised; and is for the most part, a quiet affair where nothing truly kicks off, so to speak.
This 9-tracker has its fair share of experimentalism; and this, directionally speaking, is where it falls short. When Holst and Coppier concentrate their efforts on outright atmosphere and ambience, they pretty much have it nailed down; with chasms of gritty peaks and troughs that stare upwards to the glassy air driven pads that float above them.
Nowhere near as aggressive as I first imagined; but a fairly interesting affair overall. There is little on here to be unhappy with for lovers of experimental ambience across all associated genres.
Two Copenhagen-based musical centipedes join forces for the first time. Anders Holst is a guitarist, composer and sound artist with releases under his own name, the pseudonym Shadow Ray and collaborations with a variety of musicians including Nils Gröndahl and Robert Stillman, as well as music for film, theatre and dance performances. The Frenchman Yann Coppier is currently an employee of Den Danske Scenekunstskole with lectures in Europe on the future of sound art. He is a member of the death/breakcore/electro band WHOURKR, the Danish artist collective Audionauts and the duo Pareidolia.
Holst and Coppier’s joint production originates in the ability and the will to listen to each other and in this way redefine electronic music. The title of their debut refers to the concept of imitation through mimicking, and it pops up regularly across the nine compositions on the album, where each number can be described and interpreted according to one’s own insight and imagination. This concept points to a futuristic, machine-based, clinical, metallic, interstellar execution in different accentuations. Not easy to name, but prominently present is a permanent feeling of impending tension. Sometimes the sound sculptures are horrifying and alarming, but they may also be delicate, minimalistic and at times even atmospheric. Some of the titles are intriguing, even funny – ‘Empty Letters’, ‘Magic Mouth’, ‘Somebody Is Peeing On My Tent’ and ‘Butoh Dancers Throwing Darts’. ‘Onomatopeia’ is not an everyday impression. Rather, it is the story of a fantastic journey of its own kind, an intergalactic trip without equal.