Say Psych: Album Review: Kooba Tercu – Proto Tekno

Arriving via a triangulation of Athens, Crete and London, yet existing at a psychic intersection between the ruins of crumbling infrastructure and an intimidating future dystopia Kooba Tercu have seen fit to take arms as only they see fit. This week they unleash their latest offering Proto Tekno on the world, via Rocket Recordings.

Led by Johnny Tercu, and sharing common members with bands like hypno-rock force Casual Nun and electronic experimental outpost Echo Canyon, this collective joined forces over a ten-day studio session in which a furious bout of creativity and chemistry led to not only their second album ‘Kharrub’ (which emerged as a release split between the London-based Hominid Sounds and the Greek labels Mafia and Body Blows) but this – their third voyage into the unknown via coruscating noise and infectious rhythmic drive, and their most powerful and captivating to date. The band themselves clarify their standpoint as “creating a vision of short-term future and trying to find humanity’s place in that world. Coming from Greece, all the futuristic elements take another turn as developments in technology and commerce take time to filter through in peripheral countries and are often skewed.”

They are confident that all formulas are fundamentally there to be mercilessly rearranged, and that a sheer force of will can easily transform the ridiculous into the sublime. “There’s a certain interplay between old and new, urban and rural, human civilization and nature, poorly maintained underdevelopment or disruptive technology and surveillance, domination and symbiosis. We’ve been exploring the space between such dipoles and trying to create a sense of optimism and militancy to face this brave new world.”

Opening with ‘Benzoberry’ which has a distorted fuzzy bass leading the charge in this full-frontal aural assault. Leading into ‘Cemento Mori’, a more relaxed offering with a lazy swagger and removed atmosphere that will appeal to Sonic Youth fans who like things a bit heavier. The change of approach mid track keeps listeners on their toes and ensures rapt attention throughout. ‘Filter Feeder’ and ‘Qasan’ take heavy influence from krautrock, with a hypnotic motorik beat dominating the former and the later offering caustic yet cinematic Can-esque layers of pulsating sound that suck you deeper into the sound with each repetition. This stunning track is the standout offering of the album and requires repeat plays to understand the genius buried in its complex layers.

‘Kamehameha’ starts with indistinct noise before progressing into a shamanistic style chant number that is so markedly different from what has proceeded it makes its mark without even trying. ‘Fair Game’ furthers this ritualistic style with added assorted percussion creating a polyrhythmic drive at the centre. ‘Boiler’ like its name suggests is an industrial inspired number and concluding ‘Puppy Pile’ amplifies these themes, enhances them and adds uncharacteristically harmonic vocals to the centre stage.

Like a breath of fresh air in a sweaty recording studio, Proto Tekno stands as a testament to revolutionary spirit and serves as a weapon of psychic defence just as much as a love letter to the three ‘R’s; repetition, repetition, repetition.

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