There was once a pop music genre that was not actually a genre. It emerged in the late nineties and early 2000s. It was called 'electronica'. This genre was no more a genre than 'indie' or even 'pop'. Electronica was a term simply used to define club music, ambient or noise. It referred to a compartmentalized and, for the most part, friendly listening music that was not good to dance to. As a result, a wide range of musical styles came to be classified under this non-genre just because there was no other suitable classification at the time. And now Oliver Doerell is putting out an album that sounds like a late electronica manifesto.
As CUMMI FLU, Doerell mainly does sound design. There is not a sound on Z that has been included by chance. Each acoustic event has been painstakingly carved, demonstrating its creator's attention to detail. The squeak of a computer, the sound of a door shutting, the drawn-out hum of a cello – everything here is of equal importance, positioned democratically side by side. Each track feeds on a wide variety of sound sources. And even when there is a lot going on, there is immense transparency. Every one of CUMMI FLU's pieces develops in measured, coherent steps into a dense and, at the same time, clearly delineated sound puzzle.
A puzzle whose pieces do not always fit seamlessly together. Some go over the edges a little bit, giving an overall impression of unevenness. And this blurring or ambiguity is what makes Doerell's music so special.
In combining these sounds, Doerell prefers the ones that do not fit together at first. Sound loops running in opposite directions rustle and squeal. A woman's voice sings a meditative mantra in an unidentifiable language, accompanied by the clang of percussion that is apparently played on an array of kitchen utensils. And in the end, a groove emerges from the tightly woven layers of sound, suggestive of Afrobeats. It bounces and springs to all conceivable heights and depths. Doerell plays his most beloved percussion instrument: rubber bands. There is not a drum computer in the world that can offer such a variable range of sound.
On Z, Doerell pulls out all the stops in terms of every possible and impossible sound: from field recordings of all kinds, including children's voices and street sounds, to kalimba patterns and elusive fragments of melodies. All of these eccentric sounds, in all their waywardness, add up to something resembling songs. Sometimes dreamy and faded, at other times concrete and driving, giving rise to a very special kind of loop-based music – intimate, meditative and timeless.
Originally from Brussels, Doerell is a multi-instrumentalist and has been living in Berlin since 1990. He is a member of the bands Dictaphone, SWOD and Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra, with which he has released a total of eight albums to date. He has played concerts throughout the world and at festivals such as CTM (DE), Unsound (PL), Mutek (CA) and Benicassim (ES).
additional vocals : Lady Ived mastering : Nils Frahm cover art : Fehmi Baumbach