Liz Durette - Primordial Soup

LP Edition of 500. Bandcamp.


Another splendid album of avant hi-jinx and shreddery from keyboard whiz, Liz Durette. Primordial Soup is her fourth album (first was a cassette), and the second for Feeding Tube. It is the follow-up to 2020’s most excellent Delight (FTR 504) and heads into somewhat different stylistic turf, whilst maintaining Durette’s high levels of keyboard invention.

If Delight was created while Liz was thinking about Romantic-era waltzes, then Primordial Soup owes some of its strategic approach to the delicate webs of ornamentation generated by French Baroque composers, as well as certain Eastern scales Liz was pondering. The pieces are all melodic as hell, but Liz describes them as having a “simpler tonal structure” than her previous albums, even though they employ the Baroque habit of ornamenting the main lines with tangles of filigree. Of course, it sounds nothing like Baroque music per se, but the technical aspects of the style allows her the ability to expand basic themes in a variety of seemingly oblique directions. The music often veers off into other dimensions of there, before returning to the basic threads around which it was built. In this respect, Liz’s approach recalls the weirder end of jazz-based solo synth improvisation, where a kind of retro-futurist duality often functions in a similar manner.

But it would be wrong to infer that this is a serious sounding album, no matter how rigorous its dream-time infrastructure might appear. There are folkloric passages with inflections that are more in line with flute music from Rajasthan or Myanmar than any known Baroque figures, and the music on Primordial Soup has a taste of the same time-bending/shape-shifting qualities that powered the music of Warner Bros. cartoons. The results may not be as serious as your life, but they’re a gas-and-a-half to listen to.

So dig right in. The soup is fuckin hot.

-Byron Coley, 2023