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Kokum/SZO – Splt (Farbwechsel, 2014)

Published December, 2014
by Easterndaze

Farbwechsel’s recent releases are becoming more different, offering a broader range of musical genres. This change is welcome since their lo-fi and dreamy house-driven sound slowly started to become a bit worn-out. When this Hungarian label first put out their first albums, they hit a mark on the international scene, and artists from Budapest received recognition abroad. Is Farbwechsel still capable to deliver something fresh and new?

Instead of a dogmatic repetition of the tried and tested formula, the latest sound of Farbwechsel is more experimental, dark and conceptual. least half of this release – particularly side A by Kokum. This is Kokum’s first release and it’s the same for the other half – SZO. Kokum’s dystopian and dark compositions were created solely via sound manipulations of his voice. When I played this for the first time I was really shocked. This dark and bleak contribution stands outside of anything that Farbwechsel has put out so far, the bona fide black sheep in their catalogue. In spite of the quite harsh limitation, the tracks are diverse and colourful.

Obviously this could not happen without the help of effects and proper equalization, add a bit of vocals (like Genesis P-Orridge during his peak with Throbbing Gristle) and you have really a menacing result including the rhythms and weird ambiences as moody as the first wave of industrial acts hailing from from an entirely different time and place. If you have ever been to Budapest, maybe you noticed this little sadness floating in the streets of this wonderful city. Though this has got nothing to do with sadness at all. Kokum sounds like he was born in a depressing industrial polluted region with concrete blocks instead of trees. Post-punk, lo-fi or dark ambient are the keywords.

SZO comes closer to the standard sound of Farbwechsel. His dreamy, dub-flavored house feels like salvation when flipping the tape. His production possesses a typical dreamy sound put through lo-fi filter lending it nice and soft atmosphere. If you are familiar with Farbwechsel’s previous releases, it may sound familiar. The trademark Budapest sound comes to the forefront. Still, a more adventurous approach towards the production wouldn’t hurt. Because SZO has definitely got an ear for groove and rhythm, two indispensable aspects of this music. In combination with more the misanthropic part 1, it is not only a shock therapy like collage, but also a label statement, ie. that Farbwechsel doesn’t want to stay the same and wants to offer room to as broad a musical spectrum, as possible.

By b.arctor