What does Mikado Koko and Penny Rimbaud sound like?
If someone decided to make a glitchy mixtape out of a horror movie.
The review of Mikado Koko and Penny Rimbaud – To Our Other Selves
Have you ever played the TV channel hopping game where you try to jump between TV channels, chopping and changing mid-sentence to create something utterly crazy and ridiculous? Imagine doing that but with multiple horror movies. Then imagine the TV channels were glitched and they keep repeating themselves or speeding up, slowing down or rewinding themselves. This is the easiest way to describe “To Our Other Selves”, easily one of the most insane albums I’ve had the pleasure to discover and review over the last 20 years of reviewing music.
Mikado Koko has taken Penny Rimbaud’s album “Acts of Love”, a 50-track album of short poems on love and reconstructed and remixed 20 of the tracks into an entirely new album. Viewed as a continuation of the original, Koko has found an album that speaks of love but frankly sounds entirely haunted to the core and warped it further. If there was anything lovely about the originals, it’s been chopped up and removed in such a brutal way that it no longer exists. Tracks deform, tape chew, slow down, chipmunk up and slide up and down octaves like the very life of them is being drained. Words from Penny’s poems, performed with such bombastic showmanship by Eve Libertine become utterly unhinged as they are chopped up into new sentences. Combine that with the very 80’s synths that love a pitch bend and you have something horror movies were made for.
It’s genuinely harrowing and awkward to listen to. The level of sinister violence, confusion and brutality for each track refuses to quieten down. It reminds me of the Lisa Germano track “A Psychopath” which includes a real-life 911 call of a woman about to be raped. In how that song ends with a blood-curdling scream of “why”, this album holds a similar space. The avant-garde punk original recordings were already anarchistic before the remix. Now it’s like 40 minutes of that drug scene in Requiem For A Dream. I come away from the album feeling exhausted and utterly spent yet oddly engaged and engrossed in the whole experience too. Some tracks are operatic. Others are like Evelyn Glennie smashing around pots and pans. Then other tracks feel like exotica synthpunk. The album leaps and gyrates between everything without pause for breath or regard for a soft landing. I love it for being so committed to its vision but make no mistake, this is as viscerally experimental as they come.
This is an album you can’t score objectively as it is so leftfield that it’s unscorable. Mind you, is any album review objective? My score of 8.5/10 is more around just how a piece of music has been manipulated in such a way to genuinely leave me spooked. That deserves praise and attention. This is an audio experience designed to overwhelm you as a listener. The video for “Track 1” gives you a decent launchpad into the album – if you come away from that thinking “that’s nuts, more please” – you may just survive it! This is one for horror music fans though as this is possibly the scariest music I’ve enjoyed in the last 20 years. Sleep tight.
Recommended track: Track 1
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