Magazine / Germany / 2022 / LP+ CD
While other experimental artists can sound as if they're attempting to lift lead weights over their heads, Duca is content flicking feathers into their faces. After his impressive 1990s/00s run on Normal and Mille Plateaux, Curd Duca had disappeared for 20 years before emerging from the aether last year.
The albums of the new "Waves" Trilogy represent a flawless examination of sound and texture. The Vienna-based producer still straddles high and low culture, but approaches his sonics with a more historically aware ear. So plain and resonant gong recordings are placed next to pop music loops and DSP-fractured cut-ups, and icy electronic jams nudge up against cassette warped instrumental sketches.
Waves 3 is a continuation and culmination of the series. In the final chapter, we’re drawn in with church bells on dome, but quickly transported to another era entirely with the crackly bläser and absurd zither, a tongue-in-cheek plunderphonic experiment assembled from zither samples. Duca follows this evocative run of tracks with a machine-gun blast of experimental sound, from the percussive 500 GRM to the ferric ASMR birdsong of ziegenmelker.
This is Duca at his most uncompromising, grabbing central European culture and dragging it through his array of processes. Playing the album from beginning to end opens up a weightless cut-and-paste mixtape, stitched together with expert foresight and a knowing wink to camera.
Like the best psychedelic experiences, memories are triggered and turned inside-out, and knowledge is allowed to blossom. Curd Duca has been refining his process for three decades now, and few artists have quite the same ability to challenge, provoke, and inspire. - John Twells