Back in July, I mentioned Skulking in the Big House from a quartet led by Alexander Frangenheim, and Frangenheim continues to release albums on Creative Sources, including more recently Kochuu, featuring French vocalist Isabelle Duthoit (b.1970). Kochuu is an appealing album, but does raise some of the same issues I’ve discussed in the past with so many quiet passages. The quiet seems to solicit activity, however, and I can imagine the album as the background to a spooky, perhaps partially darkened, contemporary dance scene. (The title refers, in Japanese, to integration of nature into architecture, much like long-time favorite Organic Modernism, which nonetheless sounds very different.) I very much enjoyed Duthoit’s vocal technique, particularly in the opening track, which has the most forward sound — sort of an overture leading into further exploration of space & the unknown. The latter perhaps probes the familiarity of interior space via sound, and judging by the track titles, involves going inside her body. (Although it doesn’t have a similar feel, i.e. no semi-ominous straining to hear, an obvious comparison for the vocal technique is Catherine Jauniaux on Birds Abide.) The string & percussion work (the latter by Roger Turner) is worthwhile on Kochuu too, although similarly straining for audibility at times. Duthoit sometimes switches to clarinet, although with rather conventional technique.
-Todd McComb (medieval.org)