(Experimental/Improvisation) Delphine Dora/Sophie Cooper

Strange duo based of trombone (Sophie Cooper), keyboards (Delphine Dora) and wordless vocals

Presentation of « Divine Ekstasys » (Feeding Tube Records, 2018) by Byron Coley

« First vinyl evidence of the dizzying, ongoing collaboration between France’s Delphine Dora and West Yorkshire’s Sophie Cooper. 
Delphine’s piano, organ, vocals and extended improvisation techniques have been documented in various places, and always serve up oceanic slabs of pure aural mystery. Comparisons have been made to Charlemagne Palestine, Marian Zazeela and other experimentalists, although Ms. Dora has long maintained her compositions are structurally rooted in folk music. Suffice to say the results are usually otherworldly and stunning. Cooper’s guitar, electronics, vocals and trombone have caused similar reactions (I am especially fond of her recent Globokar-like ‘bone-investigations). And the pair’s collusions (of which there have been several) are always eagerly anticipated. 
The main themes of the two sides of the LP are “Invisible Gesture” and “Sublime Gesture.” The Invisible seems to involve more entwined vocals and a certain space-oid twinkle to the keys. There are also occasional flare-ups that recall Third Ear Band‘s music for Macbeth or some unknown collaboration between Comus and Paul Rutherford. The “Sublime” adds heavier drone action to the process, as well as insertion of noise and classical “events” to interact with the ghost vocals. 
It is a truly delirious spin. »

« Voici la dernière collaboration entre deux musiciennes, très prolifiques et définitivement hors norme, j’ai nommé Delphine Dora, pianiste aventureuse et fondatrice du label Wild Silence, et Sophie Cooper, multi-instrumentiste, poétique et inspirée venue d’Outre-Manche, deux artistes cheminant pour ainsi dire à la lisière du monde musical connu. Pour l’occasion, elles nous entraînent dans une sorte de douce spirale psyché-drone libératrice. Cette Divine Ekstasys qui semble figurer la recherche d’une forme d’accomplissement mystique, où l’atteinte d’une terre promise fantasmée régalant les sens, s’apparente à un étourdissement lent et progressif où se côtoient instruments divers, voix éthérées, chuchotements…le tout savamment imbriqué pour générer une authentique brume sonore, jamais sombre, bien que possiblement inquiétante. Une oeuvre qui peut évoquer certains travaux de Fursaxa et/ou de Current 93 première période. »

THINK AWAY (Was ist Das ?, 2017)

After the huge success of the duo’s first collaboration [2015’s « Distance Future »], we are delighted to be bringing you their second, « Think Away ». While the first album was recording in a big church, this one has a small cellar feel, all intimate atmospheres and subtle details. It’s the night to the first albums day, with hints of melancholy and darkness, crossing points ranging from Charalambides and United Bible Studies to John Cage and Jerry Goldsmith.

DISTANCE FUTURE (was Ist Das?, 2015)

This is edited together from the highlights of a very creative session that Sophie Cooper and Delphine Dora had in the perfect setting of Todmorden Unitarian Church. This is their first collaboration, although Delphine put out Sophie’s stunning solo album “Our Aquarius” last year on her own excellent Wild Silence label. They also both appeared separately on Richard Moult’s album “Last Night I Dreamt of Hibrihteselle”. Put all these previous works out of you mind, though, as this is something very different. Different to most things. Sophie and Delphine are caught here carrying out primal improvisations utilising the profound acoustics of this historic chapel. If you caught any of the unplugged sets at Tor Ist Das! Festival that just used the building’s acoustics then you will know what the building is capable of but with just two people in there, it sounds even more spacious, more infinite. Their tools are a trombone, percussion, electronics, organ and their wordless voices.

PITCHFORK « Best Experimental Albums of 2015 » :
« France’s Delphine Dora and England’s Sophie Cooper have both made impressively uncategorizable music over the past decade, and while they’ve been mutual supporters (Dora released Cooper’s excellent Our Aquarius on her Wild Silence label last year), this is the first time they’ve played together. Improvising in a echo-laden church in West Yorkshire, the pair found a sound distinct from their respective individual work. Their voices fill the space in a haunting-yet-reverent way; some of the tracks are like wordless hymns sung by ghosts. Distance Future’s surrounding ambience reminds me of the holy drones of Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer on Day of the Demons, but where that record’s power came in clarity, Dora and Cooper’s work is more mysterious—and ultimately something only these two could conjure. « —Marc Masters

THE QUIETUS « Best Experimental Tapes of 2015 » :
« One of these months I’m not going to feature a tape from the Was Ist Das label, I swear! They’re not making it easy though. This latest release is insanely beguiling, and features a collaborative session between West Yorkshire based musician Sophie Cooper and French improviser Delphine Dora. Recorded in the atmospheric confines of Todmorden Unitarian Church, Cooper reaches for her trombone alongside electronics throughout the tape’s 13 deftly chosen snippets from the performance, while Dora swaps her usual piano for organ and percussion, with both utilising their haunting wordless vocals throughout. The possible comparisons are few, yet brutally raw in nature: Keiji Haino’s Nijiumu albums, the sound of an Alfred Schnittke choral work reflected by an infinite number of ancient stone wall corners, small snippets of La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela epic vocal drones. Every moment in the unitarian church feels imbued with some truly ancient sounding ritualism. Cooper’s excellent trombone playing adds a rarely heard colour to proceedings, and Dora’s off-kilter percussion contributions (as on ‘Interlude 2’) yank the carpet out from beneath us just as we settle into the strangely alluring darkness summoned by the pair as they drone, sing and otherwise concoct strange sounds before our very ears. Distance Future is pure sonic magic, and the strangest part is, we’re never quite sure if we’re heading into, or escaping from the darkness. » – Tristan Bath