Kaan Bulak’s piano opens this debut from the Berlin duo with a searching, tender solo. It is so engaging in fact that the entrée of Robert Lippok’s electronics go unnoticed at first. He drifts in like a fog, disregarded right up until the point it is difficult to focus on anything else.
As the 13 ½-minute “Kubus I” proceeds, the listener’s attention shifts from one to another, to the combination of the two and then back again. It is this dynamic that defines Kubus and makes each of its six pieces such a wonder.
Depending on your focus, this is a romantic piano work set against the atmospheric work of Lippok. It is a set of dense electronic compositions coloured by Bulak’s penetrating style. Or it is both, all at once.
That the pair’s debut is this great an achievement speaks volumes about the two artists. Kubus is all the more remarkable when you consider the two produced this improvisational work just one week after meeting for the first time last May.
Bulak performs on an augmented piano, which according to the album’s notes “is extended in its articulations – acoustically and electronically … without losing its traditional phrasings.” After studying piano growing up, Bulak went on to earn a degree in audio engineering, and then a graduate degree in sound art at the University of Arts Berlin. Among his career highlights was the development of a mobile loudspeaker (with Martion Audiosysteme) that produces organic-sounding electronics in concert halls.
Lippok is both a musical and visual artist. Besides a string of successful recordings and live performances, he presents workshops on his multidisciplinary design and sound work “incorporating architecture and field audio materials” according to his bio. His class at NYU Berlin is entitled Experiments in the Future of Production and Performance.