Acclaimed as one of the young artists “shaping our contemporary music scene and defining what it means to be a composer in the 21st century” (NPR) and heralded for his ability to “blur the line between electronic and acoustic instrumentation and seemingly melt both elements into a greater organic whole” (WNYC), Paris-born Daniel Wohl creates a remarkable hybrid of music that is part-mechanical and part-organic on the aptly titled Corps Exquis — a French term that translates in English as “Exquisite Body.” Instead of exploring the gap between his classical composition background and his collaborations within the ever-evolving electronic music scene (recently with Laurel Halo and Julia Holter at the Ecstatic Music Festival), Wohl strives to close it. Wohl’s music is performed by acclaimed new music quintet TRANSIT on the disc, and features guest performances by Aaron Roche, Julia Holter and So Percussion.
The album’s striking electronic elements are derived directly from Wohl’s processing of the virtuosic ensemble’s acoustic instruments (piano, violin, cello, clarinet and percussion). On the track “Ouverture”, Wohl processes the resonance from a bell hit and extends it to form the underlying electronic texture; on “Limbs”, the original acoustic piano plays in perfect unison with an electrified and transformed version of itself. The result is a dynamic and emotionally charged work in which the acoustic and electronic sounds seamlessly intertwine to the point of becoming one.
On the album’s opener, “Neighborhood”, an isolated-feeling soundscape, pulses with electronic and acoustic percussion, at times swollen with lush strings and technicolor euphoria with help from So Percussion. Cello and distorted organs vibrate in unison on “323″ as jangly percussion, found sounds, and vocals (Aaron Roche) bound, and on “Plus ou Moins”, gentle piano is met with twists and turns of countermelody. Easy, poignant vocals (Julia Holter) blend with a melancholic strings, percussion, piano and bass clarinet on “Corpus”, bringing the album to a wistful close.
TRANSIT is: Evelyn Farny (cello), Andie Springer (violin), David Friend (piano, toy piano, melodica, percussion), Joe Bergen (mallets, percussion, melodica), and Sara Budde (clarinet, bass clarinet). In addition to composing the album, Daniel Wohl is featured on electronics, organ and vocals. So Percussion provided additional percussion on "Neighborhood"; Aaron Roche provided vocals on "323" and "Neighborhood" and additional percussion on “Cantus”; and Julia Holter provided vocals on "Corpus".
The album was recorded by Andrew McKenna Lee at Still Sound Studios and Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio. The album was engineered and mixed by Andrew McKenna Lee and mastered by Joe Lambert.