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1 review »I’ve never heard of Okkyung Lee before so it’s going to be difficult for me not to seem pig ignorant whilst writing this review for Ghil, her latest album on Ideological Organ. If I succeed it’d be good to know. After a quick internet search it looks like this highly regarded artist has been making music for years with such esteemed folk as Christian Marclay, Laurie Anderson, Ji ... »

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  • Ghil by Okkyung Lee

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Ghil by Okkyung Lee
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7/10 Phil Staff review, 27 June 2013

I’ve never heard of Okkyung Lee before so it’s going to be difficult for me not to seem pig ignorant whilst writing this review for Ghil, her latest album on Ideological Organ. If I succeed it’d be good to know.

After a quick internet search it looks like this highly regarded artist has been making music for years with such esteemed folk as Christian Marclay, Laurie Anderson, Jim O Rourke, Steve Beresford, Evan Parker, Anla Courtis, My Cat is An Alien, Phil Minton and C ‘Frank’ Spencer Yeh. I could continue but with my new found knowledge of Okkyung I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging.

Ghil was recorded by Lasse Marhaug on a cassette recorder he’d just bought (originally made in 1976.) It was recorded in Oslo in Lasse’s studio, a forest, a back alley and a hydro-electric plant. Okkyung sounds like she’s playing a cello and indeed it does seem like her instrument of choice as it is the instrument she actually plays. A lot of the time it sounds like someone sawing. Occasionally you’ll be able to hear what resembles a cello but sometimes when she’s playing abrasively it sounds like someone sawing wood like a lunatic in a forest. It’s not an easy listen by any stretch of the imagination.

Some of the tracks have a more shredding approach, recorded in a reasonably lo fi fashion. These tracks sound like someone sawing like a lunatic in a forest very quickly. I’ve flipped it over and there’s some more white noise-y style tracks with some intense cello building up behind it which I’m enjoying.

If you want to hear someone play an instrument unconventionally recorded in unconventional ways in unconventional places then this is for you. Initial copies on white vinyl!


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