Lakker return to R&S with their stunning new album; Época. Following 2016’s conceptual 8 track maxi-EP “Struggle and Emerge” (using field recordings of TV and radio broadcasts from the Dutch National AV archive) Época is a bracing return to form, combining caustic electronics with fresh inspiration from the prepared piano of John Cage, plaintive folk melodies, the explorative label Sublime Frequencies and the raw rhythms of Kampala’s Nyege Nyege Tapes.
Following a restorative creative break to pursue their own solo projects (as Arad and Eomac respectively) the duo finally returned to the studio, finding themselves working more closely than ever before. “We wrote this record together, in the studio as a duo.” Ian explains “Previous records involved a lot of time working on tracks individually, but Época was written almost entirely together in the studio – it felt much more fun, more organic and democratic.” We allowed it to happen rather than push or pressure it” Dara adds.
The natural evolution of the tracks and their rougher, looser production sound parallels the duo’s interest in two separate ideas: ambient and natural sound, especially the background noise – a sense of time and place – that is inherent in old recordings of folk and classical music; and an interest in herd dynamics and flock patterns / murmurations, both in the natural world and in human society. The movements which affect the world at large through cultural and political shifts. “Like the first starling that causes a wave in a murmuration,” Ian explains “We are really interested in how this is also reflected in human society – a new idea appears and then reaches critical mass and resonates through society as a whole, and change happens (positive or negative).”
The rich and deep work of Época finds the duo reinvigorated from their hiatus, using their own voices extensively for the first time, alongsides regular vocal collaborator Eileen Carpio. As Dara explains “We had been experimenting with our own voices in our solo music, so it felt like this was the moment to step out from behind the curtain and put our own vocals front and centre in a more natural way”. This leads to an at times more melodic and poppier feeling, balanced out by the off kilter rhythms and blasts of feedback and weathered reverbs that intertwine throughout the record.
Once again the duo look to the outside world for sonic inspiration. Alongside the use of physical modelling synths the album contains recordings and samples of violin, guitar and bodhrán, the stringboard of a piano at EMS Stockholm, phone recordings of family gatherings in Dublin and 1970’s dance music from Jaipur.
‘Época’ is a rich, challenging album of diverse and intense soundscapes that expands on the scope of Lakker’s already multifaceted music that finds them at the peak of their artistic powers.
‘We are living through volatile times, and as musicians it is impossible to avoid that being reflected in our work. Época is a our personal response to the atmosphere of these times and the external political and cultural events that are shaping our world. Some positive and hopeful, some despondent and angry, and some reflective and introspective.’