The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #127: Of late 36: Afrodeutsche, Eartheater, Red Brut, serpentwithfeet, Cienfuegos, Kate NV, SOPHIE, Mika Vainio & Franck Vigroux, Klein, Ashley Paul, Sonae, King Vision Ultra, Blawan


Red Brut
Kate NV
Mika Vainio & Franck Vigroux
Ashley Paul
King Vision Ultra


Afrodeutsche Day Tuner
‘Before Henrietta Smith-Rolla, aka Afrodeutsche, became Skam Records’ most exciting recent recruit, she had a solid run of enviable opportunities. Without knowing how to read music or even play keys, she was asked to join Graham Massey’s vintage organ group Sisters of Transistors in 2006; her first live show in 2016 was at Pikes in Ibiza playing alongside Carl Craig. “I have this mentality where if I’m scared or nervous about something then I should definitely do it,” she explains over the phone, fresh off playing her first set at Berlin’s techno mecca Berghain.’ — Fact Magazine


Eartheater Inclined
‘Alexandra Drewchin’s vast skill as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist have led to collaborations with percussionist Greg Fox and guitarist Bernard Gann (and occasionally others) as part of the experimental psych group Guardian Alien. She’s also worked with industrial hip-hop group Show Me The Body, activist and hip-hop artist Bunny Michael, and experimental duo LEYA. And though she began by playing violin at a young age, she has since picked up guitar, synthesizer, and “can express [herself] on flutes and other stringed instruments.” Her first two albums as Eartheater were cyborg concoctions combining both organic and synthetic sounds. Drewchin spliced string instruments (guitar, cello, violin, piano) with beats, synthesizers, and her own alternately eerie and playful vocals. By contrast, the more abrasive IRISIRI is full of percussion. Within seconds of track two, “Inclined,” Drewchin has broken out a rattling drum machine and crying violins. By the time her woozy vocals kick in, it’s clear that the simpler, poppier melodies of her earlier works have been banished from IRISIRI.’ — bandcamp daily


Red Brut Senpai
‘Marijn Verbiesen is one of the forces that keeps the Rotterdam underground together, participating in numerous projects (Sweat Tongue, JSCA) and as organizer of the infamous Herman concert series. But foremost, she is a highly talented musician that makes her debut on KRAAK with a stunning vinyl, containing tape collages that are highly personal. The future of musique concrète is amongst us; it is called Red Brut.’ — KRAAK


serpentwithfeet seedless
‘On “Mourning Song,” a track from Josiah Wise’s new album, soil, he sings, “It’s too much work to be the monster and miss you too / Why didn’t you just stay?” His vibrato quakes and stretches to breaking point in a mix of self-deprecation and despair. Even more striking is what’s going on behind him: a slow march of horns and barely-there drums, pushing his song forward like a funeral procession. Since his 2016 EP, blisters, Wise has evolved from histrionic oversharer to keen songwriter with a sharp wit. On his debut album, soil, those qualities bloom on tightly written pop songs that probe his innermost fears, neuroses, queer insecurities and desires. On “Seedless,” with a fantastically wonky Clams Casino beat that blooms into a gorgeous chorus, he sings, pathetically yet manically, “Can I make your favourite meal before you move out?” before promising to be less “suffocating” if his ex will take him back. Wise’s delivery drips with self-deception.’ — Resident Advisor


Cienfuegos Encantada
‘Expanding his sound along ambient and noise axes, Brooklynite Alex Suárez a.k.a. Cienfuegos has cooked up a properly varied album here, using uniquely textured ambient intros and outros to set the scene for a murky ride that takes industrial world music and the grubbiest drums in its stride with outstanding highlights in the droning payload and squirming torque.’ — Boomkat


Kate NV – дуб OAK
‘The city of Moscow is 871 years old. Its first entry in the annals of history is as a minor outpost on the western edge of what would become Russia. Perhaps all great cities start as backwaters, but Moscow in particular has lived many lives, from “Third Rome” to workers’ paradise to late-capitalist playground. The contemporary version of Moscow—with its opulent cathedrals and enormous underground shopping malls—is a weird and wondrous historical crossroad. The Western imagination, at least the one informed by the wreckage of the Cold War, may not necessarily think of the Russian metropolis as magical or otherworldly. But listening to the Russian electronic musician Kate NV’s sophomore album, для FOR, an eccentric sonic love letter to her hometown, one gets the sense that the ambient rumble of a city can be made to seem, from the right angle, marvellously strange.’ — Kevin Lozano


SOPHIE  Faceshopping
‘OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES finds itself torn between the presence of sonics and the non-presence of bodies, catches bodies up in sonics and watches them lose their grip on a fixed pole. If her early singles were concerned with the importance of surface presentation, of beautiful, giddy posture and the intense desire produced by commercials and commercial products, her debut focuses on those surfaces as a site of self-hood. Self, here, is unknowable, impossible, defined through latex and histories of house music, through Photoshop and power ballads. “I want to know who you are/ Deep down inside,” someone else sings on “Infatuation” — or maybe it’s the same person as before. The number of vocalists remain uncountable through constant sonic manipulation. A deep, warm bass pulse pushes us along. There is, unexpectedly, a guitar solo of sorts, which is unexpectedly lovely. The vocal melody does not resolve. The lyrics offer us no solution, no solid truth for this “who.”’ — Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli


Mika Vainio & Franck Vigroux Feux
‘Mika Vainio and Franck Vigroux’s Peau Froide, Léger Soleil was a dense and complex record, a collection of sonic sculptures forged in heavy tonal matter. It was the product of a lenghty creative process, articulated through studio sessions and live performances. The result was a huge amount of material that the duo actually decided to partition into more than one release, the album being the first in line. The new 6-tracker EP Ignis makes for the first posthumous release from the two producers, after the untimely passing of Vainio in 2017. As a second chapter, it differentiates itself from the first offering by including more spacious tracks and somber drones, driven by a never-resolved tension that infects every bit of sound, morphing from the horrorific ambient of “Ne te retourne pas” to the unquiet sine wave meditations of “Un peu après le solei” to the harsh noises of closing track “Feux”.’– 0AntN


Klein  Apologise
‘The EP’s overall affect is relatively bleak, despite it also being a Quinceañera anointing Klein as an actual Disney princess. “Apologise” and “Last Chance” bring the record into a fully musique-mystique-concète frame, while shades darken into an extended, extra-flattened vision of noise music. All the easily appropriate-able elements of her work — her use of freeware Audacity, her “youtube-concrète” style, her love of Nigerian B movies, of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of Toni Braxton, of Mariah Carey — all become transparent ghosts shown off in cc’s last minutes. Her voice, somehow both husky and wraith-like, is left as the irreducible and frozen core of this essentializing process, revealing, perhaps, that these are still songs — sad songs, theme songs for something fucked up and also celebratory, free.’ — Nick James Scavo


Ashley Paul Reflection
Lost in Shadows is Ashley Paul’s first album since having a kid, and its instrumentation, composition, and lyrical themes are shaped by this. Known in experimental circles for balancing delicate textures with shrill sounds within free-form compositional structures, Paul’s latest feels especially grounded in its postpartum haziness. This is nursery music for enthusiasts of field recordings and free improvisation, as indescribably catchy and invigorating as it is inevitably irregular and enervating. At its immediate outset, Paul ushers in a quiet cavalcade of joy and fatigue, leading guitar, saxophone, voice, tuba, cello, and percussion through narrow hallways littered with toys, directing sounds like a drugged drum majorette on a poorly organized marching band field trip.’ — Jazz Scott


Sonae Majority Vote
I Started Wearing Black is neither loud nor clear — and nor should it be. It’s an album that takes time to coalesce, to assemble. It moves between the lo-fi house sounds of Opal Tapes; the concrete realm of experimentalists like Félicia Atkinson; dubby deconstructed spaces of “surface noise,” and creaking, ominous strings reminiscent of The Marble Index. Lullabies creep in, muffled explosions detonate, beats stutter, cough, and expire.’ — Rowan Savage


King Vision Ultra Below
‘The resultant record is a pretty astounding thing—a nearly 50-minute assemblage of chittering static, pitch-shifted vocal samples, and lumbering drum work, that moves in a hallucinatory way, fading from beat to melody to noise and back again. It’s not catchy, luxurious, or bombastic, at least not in any traditional way. It’s caked in tape hiss, and street-level grime; this is the handmade masterpiece you fantasize you’re picking up when you rescue a shoebox of cassettes with yellowing J-cards from a street corner on trash day.’ — Noisey


Blawan Careless
‘Two minutes into “Careless,” the second song on Blawan’s debut album, Wet Will Always Dry, something unexpected happens: The UK techno don’s voice wafts into the mix, his airy tone suggesting a Belle and Sebastian B-side blown across the festival field. For a producer whose best-known song—2012’s monstrous “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?”—hangs off a distorted vocal hook that hints at murder, the contrast is eye-opening. It introduces a rejuvenating tinge of vulnerability into Blawan’s sometimes stony techno.’ — Ben Cardew




p.s. Hey. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Well, I’ll hunt down ‘Custody’ then. I don’t remember hearing much about it when it was in release here. Very good luck with the soundman and with the assembling of your crew. I miss that phase. Damon Packard! That guy’s work is a trip and a half. I haven’t seem the new one. I know people who know him, but then again he seems to know everybody. Seems like kind of a weird, do-it-yourself, auteur by sheer force of will only type of guy, which is a type I think is inherently heroic. Huh. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, RIP Robby Müller. And RIP the great Maurice Lemaître. ** Misanthrope, Happy that your fancy was similarly tickled by them. I like the corn on the cob part. Well, there was the Concorde, but people I know who took it said it was very rough and noisy. Still, I’d take some rough and tumble over those many extra hours upon hours. I would have preferred ‘Final Destination’ as an option over ‘The Post’ personally. ** Scunnard, Then we’ll make amazingness happen together! High heat everywhere. It’s madness. Hotel soap collection, that’s nice. I inherited my dad’s matchbook collection from his world travels in the days when smoking wasn’t considered Satan’s curse on humanity. I think I ended up lighting most of them. They were probably worth a pretty penny. Or maybe literally a penny. One wonders. Zac has a relative who collects electronic hotel room keys, and he always steals his from wherever we stay to then pass along. They all look basically exactly the same. Which I guess is their appeal? ** Cal Graves, Hey, man. Las Vegas! Are you staying on the Strip in one of those billion dollar themed monstrosity joints, I hope? I don’t know Sergei Lukyanenko, but I’ll go find out who that is. Is the Tarot book for actual Tarot-related fun/learning or for a writing project or … ? exclusively Dennis. ** JM, Yum about your life’s air-tightness. That is one heck of a sentence. Uh, … well, I’ve been listening to what you see in the gig post today, so that’s easy. Reading-wise, hm, nothing that I didn’t tell Cal yet, I don’t think. Seen … not really since NYC. It’s been too hot to go very adventuring. Plan to see some art: a Ryoji Ikeda shebang @ the Pompidou and some show called/themed ‘Enfance’ at Palais de Tokyo. And I still want to see that ‘Jurassic’ movie, I don’t know why. Air-conditioning? I just got the new Death Grips but haven’t cracked it. Next for me? Trying to finish the next draft of the new film script this week. Big first meeting on Monday with ARTE about the possible TV series, major gulp. A friend’s in town visiting. Stuff like that there. You? ** _Black_Acrylic, I thought so. I guess I’m for France now. But I wouldn’t mind Sweden taking it. ** Bill, Hi, Bill! It is, right? Do people still eat/use relish? I guess they must. Relish seems like one of those formerly ubiquitous things that has bitten the culinary dust, but I could be wrong. ** Okay. Here, today, is one of the gigs full of stuff I’m hearing/liking that I seem to launch here sort of once a month at this point, I guess. Find out if our tastes coincide at any point, won’t you? See you with something else tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    “Relish” has always been a mystery to me. Never had any use for it. Mustard, ketchup and pickles on the side are just fine. Tried it once or twice on hot dogs and found it disappointing.

  2. Steve Erickson

    I think this is the first time I’ve reviewed one of the artists you’ve posted here beforehand (serpentwithfeet.) And it seems like everyone I know loves SOPHIE’s album and is talking about it, although Billboard says it only sold 2,000 copies in its first week of release. I’m listening to Anthony Pateras’ new band North of North, a free-improv piano/violin/trumpet trio which would fit this day’s spirit although I know you don’t like to repeat artists, right now.

    I wasn’t very impressed by Ashley Paul, but I like Blawan, Afrodeutsche, Eartheater, Sonae and Red Brut. This seems like the first Gig Day you’ve done with a single guitar or anything even approaching rock music in it.

  3. Sypha

    Hey Dennis, sorry I’ve been a stranger… there has just been a lot going on these last two weeks, mainly some family problems that I’d rather not go into right now… plus the usual work woes issues… and getting ready for my upcoming annual trip to Maine (we leave on Saturday)… plus the recent crippling heat wave we’ve been experiencing (I think my parents are the only people left on Earth who have refused to look into central air, though this week even they got fed up and got an A/C for the living room: of course, my bedroom has an A/C). But I’ve still been ghosting the blog every day…

    In terms of music I’ve still been listening to a lot of 90’s music, mainly to get an idea as to what songs I want to use in the 90’s novel I’ve been planning out (and that I hope to start next week, while up in Maine). For example, Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” which I had never heard until last month. Speaking of which, do you mind if I make a reference to Smear/Tinselstool? I think that would be a funny easter egg… GUIDE is one of those books (like GLAMORAMA) that seems to me kind of captures the zeitgeist of the 1990’s. In any event, I’m trying to keep this soundtrack to under 40 songs, so that I can fit it onto two CDs (HARLEM SMOKE had around 45 songs and thus needed 3 CDs to fit it all).

  4. Steve Erickson

    I’m amazed anyone could go 20 years without hearing OK COMPUTER. I know Dennis strongly dislikes it, but back in 1998, it seems like it took about 4 months to become an instant classic for most rock fans and even more music critics. At the time, I thought it was an important album beyond its musical merit for breaking down punk-derived taboos about prog-rock as a productive influence the way EXILE IN GUYVILLE did re: singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell. “No Surprises” and “Let Down” rank among my favorite songs ever written about depression.

    Here’s my review of the Zellner brothers’ film DAMSEL:

    And my review of the new album by British pop group Years & Years:

    And electronic music producer Lotic’s POWER, whose aesthetic is pretty close to this day:

    Last in this review dump, Boots Riley’s film SORRY TO BOTHER YOU:

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Just going by its sheer ubiquity, that SOPHIE tune is defining the moment. I’m on the fence about PC Music’s output but must admit, the crew’s got chutzpah and it’s a big part of what pop music’s about.

  6. Chris Cochrane

    well hello. what the hell happened with Mallorca ? you seemed almost nonplussed about it, or maybe I caught the blog several days later. I hope everything went ok with the French and all, the reason you had to go back. Lovely hanging out and collaborating you know. Until next time. Well Ish has an idea, which I feel is worth entertaining, questioning and thinking about. He may not be so hot on touring, yet interested in making a film of the piece, hmmmm. We probably should all three discuss this and see what that would mean. he and I met today and he said he just thought of it, not knowing what it means. Maybe it’s a way to preserve it in some form other than video. I do think there is power in the live version, especially with this cast, which will not always be guaranteed, as you know. It’s something to discuss. I hope you’re well. Glad Zac held his own in Mallorca. Doubly glad you’re missing the insane humidity here, wish I was. Sending you buckets of love – Chris

  7. JM


    Of COURSE you listen to SOPHIE! haha. I too think Final Destination is a better movie than The Post, but Spielberg hasn’t lost his touch, Ready Player One is very dumb very fun. the new jurassic movie looks terrible but might be good, i like the trailer in the bedroom but everything outside of the bedroom is :((( sad sad sad. i gotta get out of this city sometime and explore what art gets put on elsewhere; our main theatre have just been allowed under a new contract to effectively monopolize our city and eat up all the smaller theatres and obviously the smaller ones tend to do more interesting work. fkkk. everywhere you’re at seems to be flourishing tho, so nice BIG FIRST MEETINGS and BIG FRIEND MEETINGS re both exciting, especially the first meeting because I’m sure hte friend willg o well :)) the death grips album i’m borderline sure is tongue in cheek, i thoroughly love it. “streaky” is a highlight. my week is, like, dancing tonight and then doing too much minimum wage work and then trying to sort out my university enrollment to do a paper on stagecraft and all stressful admins tuff like that. then seeing kendrick lamar next week so that might be nice.


  8. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Yes, the Concorde!

    Ha! Yes, The Post. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen similar opinions. Of course, I’ve seen the “It’s the greatest thing ever!” type stuff about it too. I did see one guy on FB who said it was nothing more than a story about a privileged white woman. Ouch, that’s pretty harsh. I don’t know, it didn’t look like I’d enjoy it so I didn’t go see it. Maybe when it comes out on cable.

    I think we’re stuck with relatively slo-mo flight. I imagine they did with the Concorde what they do with fighter jets, which is they take off all the things that keep the noise -and speed- down. There are no restrictor things or whatever on those things. Probably did something similar to what they do with the really fast jets that are so fucking loud they’ll burst your eardrums.

    The corn on the cob was good. We just boiled it. My tiny little grill was too full to put much else on it.

    I totally missed our fireworks too.

  9. Cal Graves

    Hey Dennis,

    serpentwithfeet! such a great artist. their “mourning song” is a beautiful piece of lyric.
    sadly, we arent staying in one of the grand spectacle hotels. but we’ll be losing all our money just the same in the casinos lol.
    Lukyanenko is fun writer–i wish more of his stuff was translated into english–I’ve been working thru his Night Watch series for a while now; one of my favorite fantasy series. Some of them were adapted into some decent movies here’s the trailer for the first one. The subtitles are special effected by what’s going on in the scene, which is cool.
    Re: tarot: Im reading the book for both reasons. I have a great interest in occult stuff and tarot is a good way to get into some of that stuff.

  10. Bill

    Nice gig, Dennis! Those posthumous Mika Vainio releases just seem to keep coming. As you might know, I’m a big fan of the latest Ashley Paul. Will spend more time with all over the weekend.

    Just enjoyed The Endless ; I see Steevee approves too. Now I have to check out Spring, by the same team.


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