Warped loops, disintegrated jazz and textural electronics meet in free-flowing low-fi improvisation on Sooth, the new album from Singaporean duo Pupa.
Recording in a new studio for the first time, making, as they put it, “electronic improvised jam sessions in between actual conversations and snack breaks,” Pupa incorporate lived space into their music. Through echoes, feedback and grainy, dusty textures, their resolutely analogue process brings us into the four walls of their studio during a stifling Singaporean heatwave.
The record title Sooth evokes both soothsaying and soothing; a search for clarity and comfort. In accordance, a scratchy, spacey dissonance evokes the looming un- certainty that surrounded them as they recorded – the freakish heat and a recent loss of a beloved animal engendered a sense of collapse happening outside of their enclosed musical space. “We regurgitated our unspoken thoughts, silent ideas and feelings in a new territory,” they say.
The glitchy opener everyday is filled with metallic percussion; textural points that hang in space, joined by an oblique sliver of spoken word from Pupa member Zeekos Perakos. Emotional, hypnagogic track Waveless blurs ocean sounds into a tempest of muted electronic noise. Later in the record, dreamy guitars and fuzzy electronics tease out or obscure subtle melodies, recalling Space Afrika or early Hype Williams. A celebration of chance, col- laboration and material reality, Sooth reminds us to stay open to the strange possibilities found in every moment.
Pupa (pronounced “Poo-PAH”) is an electronic duo comprising of Wu Jun Han and Zeekos Perakos. Formed in 2013 in Singapore, the duo has performed live improvisations for art events and a chain of sound drawing performances called ‘Translations’. They have previously released work on Singaporean label Ujikaji and performed at Nusasonic. According to Bandcamp, “Grinding noise and experimental music from Singapore’s Pupa... locates moments of melody within the industrial din.”
released April 6, 2023
Mixed by Pupa
Mastered by Justin Randel
Artwork by Wu Jun Han
It was a bit too much and samey by the end for me, but if you like dark atmospheres, if you are really interested in sound design or you enjoy the challenge of music that tries to wear you down, you should definitely check this record out.
I loved the echo-drenched drums and percussion and synths and hard to describe sounds on this, but it stays with the same sonic ideas for too long for me to enjoy to try to withstand the harsh wall of sounds minisculebarber