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Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny Feat. Viktoria Wehrmeister And Detlef Weinrich

Phantom Seance Ballett

"Phantom Seance Ballett is a boombox orchestra, Nō mimes, Vicky’s protection spells, Detlef’s psychic shuffles, a smoke machine, a strobe light chamber, painting, Margit Carstensen’s chiffre, Susie Greene’s insults, Schleim, Ebichu’s echoes and Anna Oppermann’s limbo."

Thus we welcome Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny's ethereal Phantom Kino Ballett project to Utter with 'Phantom Seance Ballett', an unusually tangible manifestation of what has become an on-going series of live performances and installations that incorporate sound, video, costume, still imagery and beyond. The themes explored weave in and out of grasp, touching on the otherworldly and mysterious, on hypnotic rites and ceremonies, on the fetishisation of cultural tropes and curios.

While carefully documented, these happenings had not been distilled or presented in a cohesive format until now. Of course, an attempt to harness and package such an experience required an imaginative leap beyond the traditional 'record-in-sleeve' approach and Lena and Sarah have overseen every aspect of this remarkable collection themselves.

Working with designer Till Sperrle, Lena and Sarah have conjured up a fold-out box containing an LP, a riso-printed credits poster detailing the samples and snippets collaged into the sound, a 36 page book with imagery from various shows and an essay by Thomas Vorreyer plus sticker pack. The limited 50 copy artist edition contains an additional 10 special riso-prints within an artist stamped hand-numbered box. For all, the LP contains twenty hidden locked grooves cut into the run-out on each side presenting snippets from the artists' archive.

The first of these pieces - 'Identikit Arkaden Seance' - took place on the 2nd of October 2019 at NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein and is a live recording. This performance was part of their exhibition "Chambers of Phantom Kino Ballett", where they showed new video works and displayed the now infamous costumes and slippers worn by Lena, Sarah and a rotating cast of guest phantoms.

At this performance, the seven performers carried boomboxes playing individual audio tracks inside and outside the Kunstverein, while Viktoria Wehrmeister and Detlef Weinrich improvised music alongside the phantoms' moving soundtracks of sonic snippets, poetry, field recordings and soundscapes.

The second piece - 'Studio Chamber Seance' - contains diverse audio tracks of performances that were held by Willikens and Szczesny in collaboration with Wehrmeister and Weinrich. It has been deconstructed and rearranged with additional sound material from the Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny archive, then edited and mixed by Lena and Sarah in Amsterdam and Cologne last year. Additional music by Detlef Weinrich and Viktoria Wehrmeister features throughout, recorded live in Aachen 2019 and Frankfurt 2020.

Mastered by Gordon Pohl. Transfer, additional mastering & lacquer cut by Helmut Erler at D&M.

TRACK LISTING

A. Identikit Arkaden Seance (Live Recording)
B. Studio Chamber Seance
+ 20 Locked Grooves (10 Per Side)

D album ‘Taiyō’ by Vādin, a new collaborative project from Lucie Štěpánková (Avsluta) and Christian Duka.

They describe the record:
“Vādin is a shapeshifter formed through sound, a seismic energy. ‘Taiyō’ is Vādin’s first word. It was improvised and recorded in the Welsh wilderness over three days within a makeshift yurt studio using analogue and digital synthesizers, voice, location field recordings and amplified objects. ‘Taiyō’ is an entity emerging from the process of opening up, inviting, curiously exploring and being vulnerable; it is inspired by the flow of life in all its finite magic, intangibility and imperfection.

The album opens with the drizzling drone scenery interweaved with shivering whispers of ‘The Seven Laws’ followed by the disintegrated rhythms and warm ripples of ‘First Contact’. ‘Merging’ is a multi-layered organism of spiralling undulations, astral droplets and hypnotic pulsations while ‘The Forest’ narrates a sensuous connection with the world where the suggestive monologue and extra-terrestrial pearls float atop galloping liquid rhythms. ‘Sufi Trance’ is a slow-burning cyclone, an ecstatic rite, a hypnotic pilgrimage into the centre of the Sun - ‘Taiyō’ - which brings the journey to a stirring climax with its morphing drops and electrifying trills.”

Mixed at SAE Institute by Christian Duka and mastered by Rashad Becker at Clunk.
Transferred and cut by Helmut Erler at D&M.

Artwork designed by Marco Maldarella.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: RIYL: Demdike Stare, the XPQ? Label and synthesized hauntology in general; this scarily good, witching-hour release is full of late nite, nocturnal voodoo; and should be the go-to play for your next black magik mushroom ritual. Recommended!

TRACK LISTING

A1. The Seven Laws
A2. First Contact
B1. Merging
B2. The Forest
C. Sufi Trance
D. Taiyō


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