The collaborative work of Viennese free-improvising violinist, vocalist and sound artist Mia Zabelka and Indian, Bangalore-based, extreme metal bassist-guitarist Icostech (aka Arun Natarajan), conceived during the Covid-19 restrictions from August to October 2020, is bound to shock you. Zabelka and Icostech, with guest, American, Denver-based trumpeter Joshua Trinidad, created heavily processed electronic textures. predominantly produced from violin and bass guitar sounds, that suggest a vibe of post-apocalyptic, illegal gatherings.
Zabelka is known for her focus on sound gesture, the notion of how sound moves and how it moves the body at the same time, or the embodiment of sound, an intuitive body-sound-machine linkage. She also explores what may be termed as scientific music, music that goes beyond melodies, harmonies and rhythm, interfacing with autonomous machines, and reflecting movement, automation, division, symbiosis, dissonance and resonance. Icostech, plays in the metal bands Eccentric Pendulum and Moral Collapse, and worked before with the late Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo complements Zabelka’s performance on «Aftershock» with experimental electronic sounds, techno and drum n’ bass beats, noises and ambient soundscapes.
«Aftershock» attacks the listener with its uncompromising, sometimes even merciless, raw and noisy soundscapes. The acoustic sounds of the violin, the occasional sounds of the trumpet and the electric sounds of bass guitar and electric guitar are manipulated and processed with many effects, edited with random noises and samples, and patterned with tough, repetitive techno beats into alienated and often barren soundscapes. Only «Trapped without Recourse» offers a brief glimpse into the unique language of Zabelka as a resourceful free-improviser, without the heavy sonic manipulations. The titles of these soundscapes – «Prelude to Shock», «The Train to Nowhere», «Recurring Conundrums» and, «Circadian Disrupt/Revisiting Narcolepsy» intensify this apocalyptic, sometimes even torturing listening experience.
The accumulative, shocking effect of this 65-minute journey is best achieved in a single listening, from beginning to end. Then the massive waves of unsettling sounds wash the listener far away from any comfort zone and recalibrate the listener’s senses to our stressful, pandemic-regime era.
Mia Zabelka (vio, noise, elec, experiments, pulse), Icostech (g, b, ambience, experiments, mix), Joshua Trinidad (tp)