Monday, November 04, 2019
Louise Landes Levi/Timo van Luijk/Bart De Paepe
Like the ever changing shapeshifting nature of Kami in Japanese Shinto faith, the music on this new collaborative lp is a mirror reflecting, obscuring or modifying the ever changing rivers of sounds.
Louise Landes Levi has a long history in music from studying sarangi with Annapurna Devi and La Monte Young to performing with like minded poets as Ira Cohen and Simon Vinkenoog. As on the previous Ikiru lp she collaborates with Timo van Luijk (Af Ursin, Elodie, Asra, In camera etc) and Bart De Paepe (Ilta Hämärä, Bombay Lunatic Ensemble etc). The trio weaves several delicate threads together into a surrealist, organic but overall poetic language. Includes a postcard. Limited to 500 copies.
Since launching in middle 2000s, the dual imprint Sloowtapes / Sloowax, founded and run by visual artist and musician, Bart De Paepe, has been proved to be among the more ambitious platforms for the wild and wonderful sounds emerging from the contemporary scenes of avant-garde and experimental music. Whether viewing individual releases, or the catalog as a total context, theirs is a world which pointedly defies easy definition and being nailed down. Sloowax’s latest, Kami, a stunning collaboration between Louise Landes Levi, Timo van Luijk, and Bart De Paepe, is among their most stunning LPs to date, riding high among our favourite records of the year.
With a practice dating back to the 1960s, over the last decade the poet, musician, and performer, Louise Landes Levi has slowly emerged as one of the most fascinating and engaging figures in the contemporary landscape of experimental music. A founding member of Daniel Moore’s Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, performing alongside the likes of Terry Riley and Angus Maclise, a student of a number of the most important figures in 20th century Indian Classical music - Sri Annapurna Devi, Ustad Abdul Majid Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and Pandit Ram Narayan, as well as a close associate of La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Ira Cohen, and Catherine Christer Hennix, she stands among the great links between high psychedelia, the countercultural explorations of Artaud and Michaux, Eastern mysticism, Hindustani music, and the sonic avant-garde. Despite her exceptional place in history, recordings of Levi’s remarkably singular music have only begun to emerge over the last decade. Last year’s Ikiru or The Wanderer and Colloidal Love were two of our favourite albums of 2018. Her latest, Kami, a collaboration with Timo van Luijk (Af Ursin, Elodie, Lumine, etc.) and Bart De Paepe, takes the already high bar up a notch.
Laden with abstraction - one foot in the ethereal, mysterious, and ancient past, the other arching into unknown futures yet to be seen - Kami is a total world, imagistically rising through sound. Vocals, tanpura, sarangi, synths, bells, flute, and numerous other acoustic sound sources, intertwine in a droning, delicately percussive tapestry, amounting to brilliant musical hybrid, the depths of which few have realised since the days of Third Ear Band and Aktuala - an avant-gardism grown from mystical roots - fragments of ancient traditions which take the ear beyond the boundaries of time, pushing forward toward utopian dreams.
Brilliant, immersive, and challenging at every turn, Levi, Luijk, and Paepe’s Kami presents a beacon of creativity and hope for the end of the year. The album comes complete with a postcard containing artwork and poem by Louise Landes Levi. For those who missed it the first time around, we’ve also just received copies of the brand new repress of her brilliant LP for 2018, Ikiru or The Wanderer, both are absolutely essential and not to be missed. (Soundohm)
Aching, poetic and psychedelic elegies for the destruction of the planet, inspired by Japanese Shinto faith and played by some of Belgium’s most attuned for Bart De Paepe’s Sloowax
Working in each other’s orbits for years, but meeting as a trio on record for the first time, the result of Louise Landes Levi (Bombay Lunatic Asylum), Timo Van Lujik (Af Ursin, Elodie), and Bart De Paepe’s (Silvester Anfang II) debut speak to a rustic, pastoral conception of psychedelia and folk music inspired by the Shinto faith’s belief in Kami - spirits or holy powers manifest as forces of nature ranging from the elements to landscapes.
In communal voice the trio limn four beautifully organic, shapeshifting scenes that perhaps suggest a world running low on electricity and reconnecting with its analog essence and capacity for telepathic communication - of which improvised music such as ‘Kami’ is surely a form of. Yet while democratic in its structure and division of duties, the vital spirit of Louise Landes Levi really helms the album with her classical Indian vocal stylings and incredibly lush, roving sarangi lines.
Drawing on her studies under Annapurna Devi and La Monte Young, recordings with CC Hennix, and performance with poets Ira Cohen and Simon Vinkenoog; Louise’s presence is crucial to the album’s heavy-lidded, Atavistic feel and appeal, especially in the opening and closing sections, while the mid-section is given to some really trippy business in the vein of Smegma, and a sublime drift recalling the tremulous filigree of Van Lujik’s Elodie and Af Ursin recordings. (boomkat)