Chogori first came to my attention with their association with the Cologne based Modularfield label with whom they released the albums “Chogori” and “Heat Haze”. For “Lake” they have teamed up with Düsseldorf’s Less Records who released the “Atermus” lp by Tom Blankenberg (who is 1/3 of the label). The duo are made up of Gregor Kerkmann on Upright Bass, Arco and Electronics, and Ralf Stritt on Analogue Synthesizer, Fender Rhodes and Drum Machine.
““Lake” by Chogori emerged out of improvisation with double bass, piano and analog synthesizer. The minimalistic songs with classical elements breathe jazz, indie and electronica. “Lake” is characterized by a carefree melancholy mood and reminds of a warm late summer evening at the lake. Time seems to dissolve, long reflections of light are mirrored on the water and make you feel part of an eternity. Many songs have been recorded as first takes at Abbey Flingern, bringing with the the mystical power and energy of initial inspiration.”
The music of the album features their main influences and are quite like the piece I am familiar from a release on Modularfield (“Schwerkraft” from Modularfield – Jahrgangssekt 01″), but you feel that at this point in their carreer they are moving away from the electronic side to more Modern Classical meets Jazz/Improv (I feel The Necks would be a good comparison on certain tracks). For this reason it makes sense for this release to come via the Less Records imprint alongside Blankenberg’s “Atermus” than the more Electronic/Dance floor orientated Modularfield. For music that has origins in improvisation, there is a cohesiveness to the material and the mixture of layering and rhythmical structure like on the single “Repetition” with its fluid Jazz percussion, repetitive piano stabs and bass make for some very deep listening indeed.
The music of the album feels best consumed once the sun goes down. This may be due to its jazz noir-ish sensibilities or maybe the tone of the record. Another of the album’s preceding singles “Ifny” makes the electronics of the duo known with its circular feel amongst minimalist piano stabs and has this otherworldly feel which is both Hypnotic and retro-futurist in its sound. Some artists tend to steer towards the Modern Classical style once piano enters the fold, so its refreshing to my ears to hear something that re-frames the instrument. A piece like “Sinus Flux” gives a perfect example of the tone and feel of the album, which is mixed in with electronics that creates a suspeneseful mood, luring you in. “Thelonious” with a title like this naturally has a jazz feeling, with cool upright bass holding the piece down while the piano interchanges between more exploratory moments and those of a rhythmical nature. Like other pieces on the album, this track could be used to demonstrate some of the qualities of the album in isolation, but there is much to uncover which makes it one to go back and further investigate as the duo don’t always put everything in the foreground when it comes to constructing their pieces.
I have highlighted some of the pieces on this album to give you, the reader an idea of what to expect as, to be honest, I am enjoying just listening to it rather over analysing it. But, I’ll leave you with this thought. I may not have covered all the pieces because I recommend you check it out yourself and what you will find is an album that from start to finish, over it’s approximate thirty two minute span, is one that is consistently good with no filler tracks. And I didn’t even mention the finale “Vico”.
“Lake” is available digitally from Less Records from October 11 and you can find out more about it from here.