YL Hooi & Silzedrek / Promesa / Poor Isa
the project of Valya Ying-Li Hooi, inhabiting a subtle and mysterious realm of furtive, dubbed-out song, sparse electronic percussion, and distant winds. Active in the Melbourne underground scene since 2017, Hooi is a member of Kallista Kult (with Sam Karmel and Tarquin Manek) and has recorded and performed with artists including Jonnine Standish (HTRK), Jarrod Zlatic (Fabulous Diamonds) and Rohan Rebeiro (My Disco). Her debut album Untitled (first released on cassette by Altered States Tapes in 2019 and reissued on LP by Efficient Space in 2021) was widely praised, finding a spot on many year end lists including the number 1 spot on Boomkat’s Discoveries l ist and being described by Boomkat as ‘an immaculately frayed conception of dubwise dream-pop’. Moving seamlessly from angelic song to gritty tape gunk, Hooi’s work opens onto a multitude of genres and directions while retaining a distinctly personal stamp through her obsessively zoned-out dub production tactics. ‘These are songs that seem to emerge in plumes of smoke, magician’s tricks conjured from the ether’ (World of Echo). Both live and in the studio, Hooi’s work is produced in close collaboration with Tarquin Manek (Silzedrek). In the live setting, the pair use voice, trumpet, bass clarinet, guitar, bass, drum machines and synths to reimagine the carefully produced studio material anew for each performance, keenly aware of improvisational possibilities and the vicissitudes of audience, venue, and acoustic space. Touching on the fringes of many genres and traditions – post-punk, minimal synth, dub, krautrock – Hooi’s protean music is haunted and seductive, her voice trailing off into an echoed infinity anchored to body-shaking foundations.
Silzedrek is the latest in a long list of aliases of Tarquin Manek. This project was conceived to explore clarinet and bass clarinet in a live setting utilising the Eastern European and Roma sonorities of the artist’s heritage. As a mainstay and central figure in the current Oz underground scene Manek is adept at employing higher dub logic to the rough juxtapositions and seemingly abrupt left turns his performances can take. Ultimately Silzedrek presents a deeply personal synthesis of time-dilating folk-jazz romanticism, heavy chamber dub and sense of smoked out inner space projected to the outer in cosmic proportions.
Thomas Jillings+ Stijn Cools
Thomas Jillings is a saxophonist, though in this duo you wouldn’t guess it. This collaboration was born from Jillings' fascination for synthesizers and he ... the knobs and keys. This isn’t a new decision. In the latest projects of Linus, his group with Ruben Machtelinckx, and in the pop band Moonboat he has been expanding his range of instruments more and more. In the dance pieces ‘Organism’ and ‘Goodbye Princess’ he also chose for this electronic approach.
Stijn Cools has already ventured into electronic experiments, including AAN/EOP, his project with Bert Cools and Andrew Claes. But in this duo he keeps to his core science: drums. Like Jillings, he often approaches music from a conceptual perspective, for example with Book of Air - vvolk (an investigation into time and tempo) and Book of Air - fieldtone (the musical translation of the sonic textures of places in nature). This combination leads to a thoughtful project with an spirit of openness, an exercise in dualisms that are then effortlessly bridged.
Poor Isa is the duo of Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux. Two brother- ly guitar players that have found each other in improvisation and sound exploration. They first joined forces in the project Linus + Skarbø/Leroux in 2015. In 2017 the split album ‘when the shade is stretched’ (Aspen 003) was a conversation between two solo banjo performances. Finally, in 2019, Poor Isa released its first album ‘let's drink the sea and dance’ (Aspen 007). In this project Leroux’ and Machtelinckx’ interest in banjos and woodblocks are explored.