KOU is the new project by Apolline Schöser (half of Nina Harker) & Thomas Coquelet.
Apolline & Thomas have been performing since 2022 under the KOU guise with 24 electronic harmoniums. Producing dense layers of tones & overtones. On their debut album KOU steers in another direction. The harmonium appears occasionally, but more prominent are delicate guitar pluckings, distant vocal effects, synths, flutes, piano strokes, a touch of musical magic and Apolline’s jazz not jazz vocals.
As soon as the needle drops it’s clear we are jump-cutting straight to the other side of the mirror. Cats purr, a woman sings as if asleep, drum machines stutter and warp and Alvin Lucier is not 'sitting in a room that is not different to the one you are not in now’. If you’re already confused, join the club. But, it’s the good kind of confused, a bewildering experience akin to the first time hearing the Faust Tapes or watching Inland Empire. Wait though, as pigeons coo and the tape machine clunk-clicks a gorgeous weirdo version of Roger's and Hart’s Blue Moon emerges to let you know this isn’t just dada splurge, there’s a genius pop sensibility at work here too. Side two takes us further into the murk with mournful detuned brass, stoned Joan La Barbara-esque vocalese and a droning Farfisa hymn, before ending with another too-tempting snatch of DIY pop. Some of the references are recognisable. All kinds of 70s/80s European art prog - think early Battiato, Pierot Lunaire’s Gudrun, Lucia Bosè and Gregorio Paniagua's Io Pomodoro etc etc. There’s a strong whiff of 90s us goof-off surrealism too- Bongwater, Siltbreeze, Royal Trux’s Twin infinitives, the damaged folkier side of Alastair Galbraith, Half-Japanese, early Beck even all feel relevant.
Like an oddball group of friends you might meet by chance and end up weirding-out with for days, the minds behind this deliciously odd music allow you to stay for a while in their strange subcultural world. You might not want to live here forever but a short trip, while it lasts, rewires your brain for the better.