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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Firas Khnaisser & Ali Robertson ‎– Midlife Pandemics (Chocolate Monk, 2020) ****½

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Electro-acoustic improvisation, or experimentation if you prefer, has gone too far a way, starting from some dark rooms in France’s GRM, then at –don’t call us academia- the New York School up until the past three decades where is seems that there are no limits. Of course many stops, turns and revelations have occurred in between. And mistakes, thankfully.

Chocolate Monk of Dylan Nyoukis and Caren Constance has continually showed a perseverance in championing the outer limits of what we call experimentation or the aforementioned electro-acoustic sound making. And they have done a great job in this field, forming what someone –as the absolute contradiction- would comment as the Chocolate Monk sound. But, do not get me wrong, by no way I mean a pattern or some kind of mannerism. It’s mostly about the everything goes approach. If I where to give it a code name, I think the title of an old Prick Decay ( and older moniker for Nyoukis’ sound making) recording, Junk Operatics, would be the most appropriate of all.

Both guys on Midlife Pandemics follow this vein of musical thinking. Do not ask me, please, to name every musical instrument or sound source they are utilizing, because I simply can’t…The cd is comprised from two long tracks recorded (thus the title I believe) during the covid pandemic. Their way of thinking and reacting to each other is totally open to any suggestion. I’m always, as a listener, really happy when I feel there’s a total interaction and egoless understanding between two or more musicians. Midlife pandemics is another of these times.

They do not seem to follow any rule or code, or even care about all that. They zigzag between amplified moments, silence and more acoustic experimentation (that word again, shit). They also incorporate the humor and stubbornness of someone who doesn’t take himself seriously and, at the same time, is eager to let things out of his chest. This totally so un-academia, so punk in its core, so free from all restraints that codify the way we think as listeners and sound makers. I loved it.



Richard said...

As far as I can tell, this isn't on Bandcamp, iTunes, squidco or downtown music gallery.

Keith said...

It's a small CDr label; available here: