Reviews Search

Reality Tunnels

cover image In its ongoing series of artist-curated compilations, the Idle Chatter label asked interdisciplinary New York-based artist Muyassar Kurdi to compile its latest release. Specifically presenting female artists from around the world, Reality Tunnels not only further demonstrates the vast expanse of what can be defined as experimental music, but also gives some largely (and unjustly) unrecognized artists a platform to be heard.

Idle Chatter

The 11 artists that Kurdi selected to participate in Reality Tunnels represent a wide array of styles, from introspective and pensive to pummeling and aggressive.For example, Meira Asher (with Amir Bolzman and Eran Sachs)'s "L'abolition de la Croix" opens up with a distorted noise burst and then punctuates field recordings with additional dissonance, later featuring additional bits of sputtering airplane engines and overdriven explosions. Sukitoa o Namau give a raw edge to 's "Good Boy" via mangled lo-fi stuttering voice samples, distorted fragments of sound, and erratic drum machine rhythms with a unique accompaniment of dog commands and barking.

"Half of Lady Suit," by Lucie Vitkov√°, is not quite as dense, but the erratic drums, horns, and grinding bowed strings have a heaviness all their own.There is a significant amount of abstraction in Anastasia Clarke's "Crushed Matrices #2," but even with all of the scraping, clattering, and vibrations, the piece never veers too far into utter chaos.Diana Policarpo's "Water Gong" is similar with its creaking textures, but has the added dimension of a slightly rhythmic structure to set it apart.

Other contributions here are a bit lighter and overall more tonal in nature.For example, there is some crunch to Elie Gregory's "Train Radio," but on the whole it is a gorgeous piece of electronic abstraction, with wide-open spaces occasionally occupied by layers of electronics and other treated sounds.Similarly, spacy synth layers and lush electronic tones nicely balance the ragged samples of Sharon Gal's "Alarm Call."There is a light and floaty feeling to the twilight field recordings of Yasuno Miyauchi's "Breath Strati" as well that give it a peaceful feel, but never a bland one.

The tape is bookended by two largely vocal-centric performances as well.The opening "Wurzel Arie" by Esmerelda Conde Ruiz consists largely of just her voice, but with the layering, reverb, and other slight effects added, becomes a richer recording of significant depth and complexity.At the other end of the cassette is Kurdi herself, with Ka Baird, presenting "Night Falls, Day Breaks."Essentially a duet between vocals and piano, the combination of Kurdi's unconventional vocal approach and Baird’s pounding performance comes together much differently than the description would imply, and it is all the stronger because of that fact.

Besides the fact that the 11 compositions on Reality Tunnels are so widely varied in their style and approach, the artists Muyassar Kurdi invited illustrates how still gendered and imbalanced the world of experimental music can be.As someone with more than a passing familiarity with the genre, even I did not recognize many of the artists who are presented here.Visiting Bandcamp, I was able to find many of them and significantly more of their works presented.Kudos to Idle Chatter though for doing the work of getting exposure for these deserving artists that have been criminally underexposed thus far.

Samples available here.