Biliana Voutchkova’s DUOS series continues to be one of my favorite things about 2022. Unleashing album after album in conjunction with Relative Pitch Records, there’s not much time to come up for air. That’s a big part of the appeal for me, as Voutchkova’s unique approach and style are instantly recognizable yet always shapeshifting. Each release in the series has been a world unto itself, never retreading the same ground. It’s remarkable.
The latest installment is with the great Jeff Surak (full disclosure: I put out an EP of Jeff’s almost 20 years ago!) and features engaging musique concrète, guerilla performance, abstract jazz, and everything adjacent and in between. Their album, The Truth About the Key, and the two videos presented here document the journey and locations of these recordings. Even after a series of interesting and distinct releases, The Truth About the Key occupies an entirely different space.
Everything from conversations with strangers, instrumental pieces mutated via dictaphone, and the everyday hum of city streets merge with Voutchkova’s otherworldly violin motifs. There’s a moment in the second video where she muses on minimal melodic structures, and Surak manipulates various sounds via tape while kicking around large metal bells on the cobblestone streets. It’s bizarre and wonderful, transporting us into this distilled moment of magic. I can’t get enough of it.
The Truth About the Key is out now via Relative Pitch. Stream below and order HERE.