Coppice, the Chicago-based duo of Joseph Kramer and Noé Cuéllar, have released a small but beautifully formed body of work showcasing unique instrumentation (bellows and electronics) and compositional practice. Big Wad Excisions builds on earlier experiments while tightening the focus and introducing new, unexpected elements. It also re-launches the Quakebasket label, which after lying dormant for six years and relocating to Louisville, KY, is entering a riotous second phase.
Using specific instrumental preparations and aiming for an “impression of transparency” in their music, Coppice’s compositions are drenched in both clarity and mystery. They squeeze full-on velocity and lilting beauty out of instruments seen as discarded artifacts of unconsidered eras—huffing and cracking, puffing and firing. “Both of us are very focused on visceral ways of performing,” they reflect. “[We] let specific gestures and textural changes draw an audience into a special experience.” All throughout Big Wad Excisions, one hears music coming into being.
Given the state of technology and society, no group should sound quite like Coppice does. However, the brilliance of their recent work has proven otherwise, blasting open the gates of the status quo and helping to redefine the future of music. Through their “sense of quiet risk” and their delicate balance of the transparent and the occluded, Coppice’s compositions parlay a double-tease of seduction and nuance: the humming and wheezing of the universe, breath by bellow breath.