Review: Curcuma Street – Ueckermünde (self-released, Feb 16)

I have no idea if Curcuma Street actually exists (if it does, it would most likely be somewhere in Spain, the artist’s home country), but for the sake of imagining the glory of an entire turmeric-themed avenue, let’s just say it does. “Ueckermünde” is hardly the lively soundtrack that would be blaring from boomboxes set on windowsills and the tinny cell phone speakers of passersby on this hypothetical street; if anything, it lurks at the invisible boundary between stillness and motion: the scrape of a shoe sole against concrete as someone is just beginning to walk, the unconscious shifting and rearranging of tools or utensils right before an artisan begins their work, the sound of the contents of one container being carelessly transferred to another. The subtle electroacoustic shuffling and peripheral electronic interference is reminiscent of other liminal tinkerers like Small Cruel Party and TVE, but Curcuma Street’s precise arrangements seem to spring from a single source point (rather than comprising a scattered supply of junk stitched together), a structural curiosity that makes “Ueckermünde” all the more elusive and enthralling. Errant swipes of pen across paper, swelling emf clouds, fiddling and fumbling: this is the sound of hustle and bustle before it actually happens. I’m not synesthetic, but I wonder if to those who are, this music’s color is that instantly recognizable shade of yellow.

(It should be noted that these words only pertain to the title track; unfortunately, the superb composition is appended with “Paysage cosmique,” a rather mediocre stretch of laptop ambient. Normally I don’t review things when I don’t like them all the way through, but the heights this release reaches makes the sacrilege necessary.)

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