Various Artists – Female Soloists in Berlin Vol. 2 (2013)

Artists: various artists
title: Female Soloists in Berlin Vol. 2 (2013)
cat: ar095
keyords: female, soloists, solo, experimental, improvisational
label: Audition Records
reviewer: Willem van O.

The first candidate on this collection of female soloists is the incredible sound thrilling Veronica Mota. Forget all what you have learned about traditional instruments as Veronica Mute seems to perform with what sounds like an electronically charged buzzing vibrator. Of course it’s an audio release which makes it unclear if it is indeed a real life vibrator that this female soloist is playing, but if my distinctively trained ears are correct, than this recording is of groundbreaking allure. Excessive vibrations, buzzing, thrilling wild and soft and highly charged; my visual mind goes berserk when hearing all this vibration action. An greater start on such a compilation could probably not exists; what a thrill!

These female soloists are not done with amazing the listeners; just get your mind expanded by the solo sound show done by Anais Tuerlinckx. What is it exactly that she  performs on? Might it be a self-made stringed instrument? A birdcage? It is a hopeless guess but the end result is an interesting piece that sounds exciting like an wild talkative alien expressing itself wildly in a strange windy environment. I’m not sure if I could listen to it all day, As it isn’t sounding like a very friendly chat but more as if the alien is complaining about the mess in the hallway or something.

The compilation makes way for the amazing performance by Ute Wassermann. Not in a billion years would I’ve heard such a female soloist doing what she does; amazing! It is unclear how but very clear that Ute is capable of entertaining the ears for the full amount of her performance by wrapping her voice in amazing shapes and forms, some hilarious (a crazy sheep? Birds on acid? Donkeys with wings?) and other more serious. (An opera singer slinging from tree to tree like the Jane from Tarzan while hunting a monkey?, odd hiccups, out of breath throat singers, Donald Duck, mosquitoes playing bagpipe..) I think you’ve got the point; Ute Wasserman’s performance is totally amazing!

The performance by Alexandra Cardenas is of a different order, sounding like a carefully cinematic work of melodic ambient drone with bells, strings and other extras. It’s a very nice structure invoking mystery and tensions in a very balanced way. This is the music greatly suitable as a movie soundtrack, being warm and friendly and able to keep up a vital intriguing scenery in which prettiness can turn to dark drama at any time. It’s a bit like listening to a wordless fairytale with all the traditional story artifact a from beauty, darkness, strangeness to a hopefully happy ending.

Felicity Mangan seems to bring us back to nature with her respectful sound performance. She is exposing frogs, monkeys, crickets, birds and molds them all in her way into an composure of experimental easy listening material. It is a bit like a nature documentary as seem by somewhat eccentric eyes, for somewhat eccentric ears. Nice.

To celebrate the end of this compilation of female soloists, there is a great guitar performance done by Els Vandemeyer. I’m really digging what Else is doing over here, she is very creative and manages to play music from this highly overused traditional instrument that is not done before. She creates a hypnotic mesmerizing story by finding the excellent balance in experimentation and more reasonable guitar exposure, making it a very interesting recording from beginning to end. Wonderful!

Seven female soloists, none of them sounding the same; so there is a good chance of discovering an artist whose performance you dig enough to search for more. All of them have been performing on Quota;Unquota (a serie of concerts curated by Philip Morris and Julian Bonequi and produced by Salon Bruit in collaboration with Audition Records) and is basically a great selection for all the curious people interested in the sounds of female soloists performing in Berlin. Free download over at the link:

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5 Responses to Various Artists – Female Soloists in Berlin Vol. 2 (2013)

  1. Linda says:

    Imho, it’s merely a (very interesting) compilation of strange sounds and I am really really curious how these performers have created the sounds as vocalists! Are there any videos of performances? Can’t find too much on the featured artists…

    (btw, if sounds are created by tools, like flutes, then technically spoken, can this then still be regarded a vocal performance? Vocal chords are skipped as sound generators, breath and hands are used instead…. would it be better to word it as a mouthing performance?)

    • Linda says:

      ok, my own stupidity. It is nowhere said they are vocalists, but soloists…. sorry! I think my brain mashed “soloist” with “vibrator” and/or I got that word stuck as I googled on Ute and she’s mentioned as vocalist somehwere….

  2. Philip Morris says:

    Hi, Thanks for the review. Glad you liked it.

    fyi each of the performances from this compilation (as well as two others) were filmed, and are available online. We also filmed an interview with each performer to give more of a context to their performance – also available online. All are here:

    The three compilations are available to download here:
    quota;unquota volume 1
    quota;unquota volume 2
    quota;unquota volume 3

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