Review

Sara Oswald & Feldermelder

Dual | Duel

-ous • 2023

The fact that Feldermelder has teamed up with a cellist to make »Dual | Duel« takes a while to sink in. On the opener »Transpersonal Source«, which clocks in at more than twelve minutes, his synthesisers occupy about half the playing time so that you find yourself quite incapable of demystifying the vague background noise. Responsible for these walls of elusive sound is Sara Oswald, who – the cat is out of the bag – loves to improvise on the cello. This works impressively once her instrument has shaken off its alienation. In a dialogue with itself, it undulates back and forth in front of Feldermelder’s sparse electronics, channelling the beauty within. On »Furthest Secrets«, the machine wizard lets breathy choruses waft over a synth sequence that resembles a Rival-Consoles-meets-Pantha-du-Prince track that never quite gets going. On »Everything Vibrating Is An Illusion«, however, Sara Oswald lays the foundation by rhythmically plucking the strings, over which her fellow musician then builds surfaces. This reflects the basic idea behind the concept and name of the album: Woodwinds and electronics explore their duality on the tracks, overlap each other but also enter into conflicts of varying degrees of severity. It is in this sense that you realise how well the duo complement each other on this experimental, melancholic album with its occasional, elusive highs.