Tristan Bath has included a review of Kitty Wang’s debut release over at the Quietus‘ monthly cassette tape review section.
Okay, so the idea of a modular synth album made in a planned out process by two guys called Phil and Barry might not sound so exciting. But hear me out.
Kitty Wang is a duo comprising Barry Cullen, “noise enthusiast based in Belfast”, and Phil Porter, “an audio worker based in Munich”, and from the sounds of it they’re both pretty well versed in the technical aspects of playing oscillators and modulators. This music was somewhat more ‘designed’ than ‘composed’, the process designed under the influence of remixing as a means to make music.
The duo’s original modular jams were “cut and arranged into clocked patterns on a computer”, then broken into fragments which were played back through the modular system, then “clocked by pulses from the original arrangement”, then… Okay I’m losing you.
Essentially, the duo arranged and rearranged various improvisations methodically, and while the untrained ear won’t most likely pick out the minutiae of ‘what happened’, the result elevates the work beyond your average synth bro down. The synths cough and splutter at times, such as on the catchily titled ‘kw6b2(moments)v2.2’, death rattling atop a rinsed out lattice of droning modules and rhythmic whirrs puncturing through thing envelope veils. It may have all been made with plenty of premeditation, but Kitty Wang feels like the work of a ghost in the machine, spluttering computer music out in bizarre alien shapes, occasionally stepping into briefly droning chords or stomped out marches.”