Published Feb 12, 2020Immediately restless, CEL's debut partnership looks to challenge the norms with recognizable forms. Felix Kubin is a German electro-pop artist who is known for his outlandish performances featuring synths that sound like they have been tortured. Hubert Zemler is a Polish avant-garde percussionist who favours off-beat, irregular compositions. CEL is the union between the two and the result is a challenging listen, despite familiar jazz and electro-pop elements.
The trickery can be found in the opening track "Ping Korridor." The xylophones, percussive rhythms and various synths all seem to co-exist with different timings among them. Well recorded, with all nuances on display, the percussion section meanders along a standard time signature, while every other element follows their own unique strict rule sets. It's like musical entropy.
The duo attempt provide more accessible offerings in tracks like "Jimmy Carter" and "Funkenkammer," but there is still something decidedly odd about the experience, possibly due to the familiarity of the individual musical phrases that should lead towards satisfying conclusions, but instead achieve more of a cocked brow reaction.
With CEL, nothing is simply uniform, which makes for a compelling listen every time. (Bureau B)