CD, Monotype Records, 2008
At first encounter – the project name and its acronymic album title – it is clear what to expect from these Polish musicians: utmost simplicity. The concept is self-evident, as Zosia Esden’s dulcet voice complements Marcin Dymiter’s electronic instrumentation. There is a timeless formula employed here, one that speaks in dualities and dichotomies (female and male, voice and instrument, actual and artificial, waking and dreaming…) to affect the desired result. This generative program results in something like experimental pop, wherein jazz elements, electronic loops and curious vocal manipulations stimulate compositions both expansive in their progression and crystalline in their clarity. There are hints of Portishead here, along with facets of Lali Puna, Télépopmusik and Zero 7, though altogether none of these resemblances offer a precise comparison.
What is most intriguing about “VED” are the transitions, movements within and among the various tracks that can be both striking and subtle, despite the inherent looping repetition offered by an electronic basis for instrumentation and vocal deconstruction. The listener is often unaware whether changes from one passage to the next signal the succeeding movement within a composition or the transition to another piece entirely. Chimes lingering from “Badhra” into “Numfati” illustrate this, as does the latter’s transformation from empty spaces and daydream humming to a percussive, complexly layered jazz improvisation. The lengthy title track also contains vastly contrasting sections. Frequently the music takes on lullaby qualities, soothing redundancies and joint female/male vocals that leave pieces like “Osadzona” (with its lingering blues trumpet) and “Wszystko w kawalkach” soft and billowy. Layers of vocalization sometimes seem mystical, pressing into the subconscious in alien ways (“Sza”) or hypnotizing with plush bass and breathy whispers (“Akina”).
Rhythmic clicks and ambient pulses typify other songs, lending a certain atmosphere of calm, insistent data flow to the background. “Wszedzie obecne ucho” especially seems buzzing with artificial intelligence, and a moody saxophone punctuates “Lahaim” along with its slow-ticking tape reel of a beat. Voice_Electronic Duo is poetic and concise in their arrangements, and the album has a pleasant, dreamy quality. Minimal, yet fulfilling, “VED” is an interesting example of twinkling lounge atmospheres and expressive lyrical fragmentations alike. Eloquent even within the smallest increments, Voice_Electronic Duo offers its audience an eclectic aural haiku.
— Dutton Hauhart