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Pamelia Kurstin [theremin]
Mark Holub [drums]
Chris Janka [guitar]
A broken wind up children’s toy, driving drums, theremin and distorted guitar crash together in this fun, madcap debut by three musical powerhouses.
Pamelia Kurstin is probably the most recognisable player of the theremin in the world today, while Mark Holub is best known as the animated Anglo-American drummer and bandleader of London based jazz-rock outfit Led Bib. Flying machine maker, sound engineer, guitarist and automata creator Chris Janka is a kind of Viennese Caractacus Potts figure with a basement studio to rival Peter Blake’s. He also recorded, engineered and mastered the record.
SEBASTIAN ROCHFORD & PAMELIA KURSTIN
Playing music from their debut album Ouch Evil Slow Hop, drum alchemist Sebastian Rochford [Polar Bear, Acoustic Ladyland etc..] and Pamelia Kurstin, the woman described by Bob Moog as “one of the most important innovators of the Theremin living today.”
Although aware of one another for a number of years, Seb and Pamelia first played together at the suggestion of Brighton’s Loop Festival, and subsequently recorded this album’s material in a Brighton studio, in a number of free improvised sessions then edited by Seb. Portishead’s Adrian Utley added his unique mixing angle, and ‘Ouch Evil Slow Hop’ was born.
An album that defies simplistic categorization, it veers between eerie soundscapes, locked celestial grooves and explosive workouts. Sections have variously been compared to Herbie Hancock’s ‘Sextant’ era and Soft Machine locked in a fight to the death with Aphex Twin.
Pamelia is arguably the most accomplished Theremin player of her generation, as witnessed by Bob Moog in the quote above. By fully embracing her own playing techniques along with technology as a processing tool, she has arrived at a unique sound for the instrument, blowing all preconceptions of what a Theremin should sound like back into the schlock 1950’s sci-fi films where they belong. Her sound ranges from the ‘sacred to the profane’, and visits every point in between, by turns beautiful and ethereal, ferociously aggressive and always alien and unquantifiable. She has recorded and played live with artists such as David Byrne, John Zorn, Foetus, Sebastien Tellier and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. She has previously released a solo album ‘Thinking Out Loud’ (Tzadik).
As well as his work as the drummer, driving force and composer for Polar Bear, whose recent album ‘Peepers’ (Leaf Label) has garnered widespread critical acclaim, Seb’s unique abilities both as a drummer and as an all round musical entity have seen him much in demand as a session player for the likes of Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Andy Sheppard and Brigitte Fontaine, to name a few. On this album, Seb’s extraordinary musicianship is fully on display, as he uses his drum kit both as a ferocious rhythm machine and, more unusually, as an almost impossibly expressive medium that defies conventional expectations of time-keeping and dynamics. He is also associated with Acoustic Ladyland, Fulborne Taversham and The Basquiat Strings.