Cafe OTO’s Takuroku label has released some of the most interesting and challenging sounds during the last year and this recent entry from Biliana Voutchkova certainly pushes listeners to focus. Seeds of Songs is a collection of disparate sounds and emotional vignettes tied together by a common desire of forbidden expression and deep emotion. Frantic moments sit next to solemn, quiet passages, each an extension of the fraught nature of the past year pressed through an organic prism.
As Seeds of Songs unfolds, Voutchkova’s voice stands out. Stark atmospheres echo against metallic walls as wordless, ghostly vocals rise from the static murk, a raw, amorphous expression. At first the sounds are plaintive, but a frank openness emerges that is oddly, unexpectedly soothing. Within Voutchkova’s utterances is a letting go. She channels thoughts and emotions outward, voicing their pain and power while casting them to the ether. It’s a powerful statement.
Elsewhere, she cracks open violin howls, pushing the instrument to its limit as she bends notes up to painful frequencies. Grating drones go berserk, lighting up the piece as it turns into a blast furnace. Further into the maze, Voutchkova’s voice is back, intermingling with sparse violin plucks, flitting back and forth like an exotic aural tennis match before devolving further into minimal environmental hiss. So many elements are present on Seeds to Song that it’s a testament to Voutchkova’s skill and vision that it all flows so naturally.
Tactile sounds, like an odd percussive sound that seems like glass marbles rolling across tile, are the glue that keeps Seeds to Song together. In the closing minutes, Voutchkova’s hums, along with those glass marbles, reveal a simple truth that expressing what lies deep inside and showing that vulnerability will end up connecting the most. Seeds of Songs is a spellbinding offering from Biliana Voutchkova.
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