Berlin-based visual and sound artist (and co-founder member of To Rococo Rot) Robert Lippok and electroacoustic pianist Kaan Bulak first met when they worked together in May 2018 at Karlsruhe’s ZKM studios, the two ending their stay with an improvised concert, the contents of which make up this collaborative album ‘Kubus’. Such is the quality of the recording and mixing on the six tracks collected here, you’d be hard pressed to guess that they’d been recorded live.
Particularly impressive is the degree of intuition between the two performers, Bulak primarily building the frameworks of these tracks with his electronically augmented piano, while Lippok fills in the spaces with alternately lulling and unpredictable electronic elements.
‘Kubus I’ unfurls this album’s opening suite, spending its 13 minute running length emerging from slow clusters of brooding piano chords, the stretched harmonic echos of each individual note merging with Lippok’s subtle wash of gaseous electronics, the rolling piano arrangements taking on a more swelling baroque feel (I have to confess spotting echoes of Mike Garson at points) before fading out into an outro of hissing background ambience.
Proceedings flow seamlessly into ‘Kubus II’, the sparkling treated high piano keys seeming to explode like pinpoints of light against the darker bass cluster chords, only for a rising wall of electronic noise to gradually drown out almost everything, the remaining murmuring bass notes drowning beneath.
Elsewhere, ‘Kubus III’ sees Bulak’s floating piano chords being processed into echoes of themselves, their planktonic percussive tones sounding closer to plucked instrumentation than anything else at points, before ‘Kubus V’ sees Lippok’s electronic treatments taking the foreground as they gradually cover Bulak’s urgent keyboard runs like layers of falling snow. ‘Kubus’ sees Lippok and Bulak’s inspired collaboration generating some real fireworks.