Co La is the primary project of musician and producer Matt Papich, whose explorations of sample-based electronic music have culminated in ‘Moody Coup’.
The emotional palette of ‘Moody Coup’, Papich’s second album and first for Software Recording Co., is more complex than its exuberant predecessor ‘Daydream Repeater’ (NNA Tapes 2011). Where that record’s relentlessly bucolic tone drew from the saccharine core of reggae, exotica, and 60s girl groups, the bedrock of Moody Coup is elusive and abstract.
The various genre coinages that have been tagged to Co La’s music before – new exotica, Avant-luxury, furniture music, etc. – fail to accommodate the brainier obsessions behind Moody Coup’s genesis. A new brand of alchemy occurs in the album, where cryptic sources are enhanced and embellished to a point of transcendence. This departure is the brilliant process o of Co La’s unpredictable electronic music.
Highlights of Moody Coup include ‘Remarkable Features’, which consolidates the prior seismic scope of Daydream Repeater into a dance floor standout. ‘Deaf Christian’ transforms a Neil Sedaka doo-wopper into a mesmerizingly dark House cut, complete with synth chasms and haunting voice chants (supplied here and throughout the record by Angel Deradoorian). The meticulously crafted ‘Suspicious’ ventures into more calming pastures — an extra dimensional, dubbed-out take on the Psychic TV gem by the same name.
At the outset of Moody Coup, ‘Sukiyaki (To Die For)’ melodically alludes to the Kyu Sakamoto song ‘Sukiyaki.’ The original was penned as a mournful assessment of post-war Japan’s relationship to the US, albeit dressed by Sakamoto as a love song. Ironically, ‘Sukiyaki’ became a hit oversees in the US and was later covered by A Taste of Honey. Rather than translating the lyrics, A Taste of Honey set new words to the original melody. (Stranger still, the word “Sukiyaki” itself refers to a Japanese hot dish.)
It’s important to note that the wide range of reference sources does not serve Moody Coup as a superficial demonstration of Papich’s eclectic taste. Instead, all of the micro pieces function mosaically, creating an impression at a macro level that is extremely potent as music as well as concept. Co La’s intellectual obsessions are rooted in questions about how music is dilated by the cultures who created it and the power structures that shape those cultures (see “Sukiyaki”), while his musical obsessions are always rooted in the sensual, the beautiful and the immediate.
Papich describes the working Co La method on Moody Coup as “employing the hegemony of delete.” He likes to be interrupted, and is fond of working in places where domestic concerns are on equal terms with studio practice. Much of Moody Coup was made in the kitchen of Papich’s Baltimore home — a place where he describes having the “best interruptions.” Assistant to Papich’s production was friend Joe Williams, who programmed and performed all synths. Tracks were additionally consolidated from field recordings, samples and composed in Ableton Live and mixed in Brooklyn at Gary’s Electric Studio, located at the Software HQ.