|Far Distances Above
|Find and Hold
CoH & Abul Mogard (which is now officially revealed to be an alter ego created by Guido Zenakak aka goodiepal or Gamers in Exile) form a supranatural alchemy of discrete analogue material and digital energies in their extraordinary debut for Houndstooth.
Stemming from a chance meeting at a Slovenian festival in 2019, CoH & Abul Mogard’s maiden collaboration focusses stunning new perspectives on the artist’s respective, fiercely singular bodies of work. Ivan Pavlov’s CoH, respected for intensely curious original solo work, and in SoiSong with Psychic TV/Coil’s Peter Christophersen, here renders a vital, grayscale fluorescence from Guido Zen’s lushly romantic Buchla 200 and Serge Modular scapes, painted to tape between Stockholm’s EMS studio and at home, under his Abul Mogard nom de synth.
You read that correctly - this is the first Abul Mogard release to be disclosed as the work of Italian artist Guido Zen; the late ‘90s electronica pioneer known for work with Gamers In Exile and Goodiepal at turn-of-the-millennium, and more recently in kosmiche unit Brain Machine, plus its parallel club project Vactrol Park, and in trio with NWW dynamo Colin Potter and Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving). As such ‘CoH Meets Abul Mogard’ drops the veil of fictional pretence after a decade of speculation, only to reveal Mogard’s music at its most metaphysically powerful, its allusive majesty heightened and reified by CoH’s computer-based sorcery and allegorically encrypted in the hand-drawn peculiarity of the album artwork, licensed from Nick Blinko (owner of Outer Himalayan Records and co-founder of legendary deathrock catalysts, Rudimentary Peni).
Discovering a newfound luminosity and bite to Mogard’s melancholic analogue synth gloam, Pavlov’s penetrative digital synthesis virtually illuminates the texture of the unfinished synth sketches with a rawly palpable energy that riddles all his work since ‘In Spaces Between’ (1997), through 2008’s dissections of Cosey Fanni Tutti and the stark beauty of SoiSong. ‘CoH Meets Mogard’ is exemplary of Pavlov’s software-based method in uncannily evocative effect, clinically combing Mogard’s minimalist grain into waves of lustrous, sky-burn phosphorescence on ‘Untangling Forever’, while taking the same stealthy approach to ‘Traverse Within’, but reserving the right to unexpectedly congeal into Moroder-esque “synth-line” momentum recalling the flesh-propelling pulse and quiver of his ‘I Feel Summer [Karaoke]’ cut on the ‘Return To Mechanics’ (Ge-stell, 2016) EP.
It’s in the album’s 2nd half that Zen & Pavlov metamorphosise their musick’s putative forms to achieve the greatest results. ‘Far Distances Above’ sees Mogard’s elemental source material made mutably viscous and plasmic, retaining its landscape-scale qualities but, through its filigree layers of obsessive detail, it also appears as subtly, viscerally intoxicating and probing as rain infused with nano plastics. Likewise ‘Find and Hold’ witnesses a sliver of Mogard’s synth studies, serendipitously secreted and recently found on a newly repaired Revox reel-to-reel, now parsed by Pavlov for panoramic gold that glistens and seduces the ear to close, with repeat listens revealing iridescent depth at every turn.