Cacophonic is the first full-length album released by South African instrumental band Albinobeach. The album was recorded at Playsound in Johannesburg over four days in November 2014 and additional elements were recorded during the course of 2015.
The album was released digitally on June 17 via Bandcamp and iTunes.
Lead-up to concept and album
Members from Albinobeach began improvisational 'jams' in late 2013 with no real intention to release an album. However, itching to play live, the band – now with additional members to the original trio which released a self-titled EP in 2008 – opted to take the improvisational element outside the rehearsal room and in February 2014 performed a one-off show dubbed “Cacophonic” (a variant of the adjective 'cacophonous'). Based on recordings made during the 2013 improv sessions, the new music, which explored repetition of various themes as opposed to rigid structures, was received positively by listeners and the band began planning streamlined recording sessions with the intention to compile a sufficient amount of material for a full-length release.
Concept and recording
Since Albinobeach had now been concentrating on a live approach for more than a year, the band decided to track music for a new album as spontaneously as possible. This meant the ideas that would feature on the offering would have to be recorded live in studio to allow for real-time natural and unbridled compositions. This approach proved to be right up to the alley of new guitarist Nenad Djelic, whose noise guitar conceptualizations are defining elements throughout Cacophonic, especially in songs like the opening track, “I Hope You Choke On That Cherry”, and the energy-laden “Stay Put, Mum!”
During the initial sessions, Albinobeach placed great emphasis on drum grooves and bass lines as points of departure for their musical themes, in contrast to writing guitar riffs and melodies first. This paradigm shift was largely initiated by founding member and bass guitarist Kalin Pashaliev, who had been influenced by the method of early '70s Miles Davis records and performances, and the minimalism of the Krautrock genre.
To avoid repetition of beats and structures, and to keep the music impulsive and unusual, some members doubled up as drummers on various songs. Original drummer Garrick Van Der Tuin, who had now moved almost exclusively to synthesisers and samples, took the reins to provide Afro beat-inspired canvases in “Croupier” and “Gumbo Dance”. Founding member, the band's graphic designer and guitarist Ian Finch were responsible for the dynamically 'loud', linear and tribal drum beats in “I Hope You Choke On That Cherry” and “Stay Put, Mum!”. New drummer Boris Tzvetanov played the drums for the remaining songs, introducing a looser and more colourful style of drumming that the band had not explored in detail before.
After the band had recorded all but one of the songs (the closing and title track “Cacophonic” was written and performed by Ian Finch about a year earlier), they summoned the services of Waldo Alexander who provided electric and acoustic violin on “I Hope You Choke On That Cherry”, “Emeralds” and “Gumbo Dance”. Alexander, who is an accomplished session violinist in South Africa, was also a part of a number of jam sessions in 2013-14. Albinobeach also employed the abstract style of saxophonist Ivan Batchvarov on “Hip-Deep”, a song that is arguably the most 'cacophonous' piece on the album.
This was Tzvetanov's take on Cacophonic after its completion: “It was really interesting to see how ideas from different minds and cultures, yet connected souls, began finding their place and formed a new, original space. It is difficult to place a single genre on this album – most of it originates from funk, dub and African music fused with psychedelic and post-rock themes. I see our music not so much as bars and exact movements, rather a pulse moving in unison with the mood and groove. It's really expressive stuff. I wish the listener has the same experience when listening to the album as we did when we were making it.”
June 26 – Official CD launch @ Amuse Cafe, Linden
July 11 – Creators Lounge, Maboneng Precinct
July 16 – Rumours Lounge with The Drift
July 18 – Bohemian, Melville
August 7, 8, 9 – Oppikoppi Festival
Boris Tzvetanov: Drums and Percussion
Kalin Pashaliev: Bass Guitar and Upright Bass
Garrick Van Der Tuin: Synths, Samples, Drums and Percussion
Ian Finch: Guitar and Drums
Nenad Djelic: Guitar