La Double Absence

by Mike Schiller

16 July 2007


Known previously for electronic excursions into the experimental ether, Austrian duo Thilges has taken a decidedly organic turn on latest album La Double Absence.  Looking to the east for inspiration and instrumentation, they recruited Afghan vocalist Zohreh Jooya and oudist Asim Al-Chalabi to fill out their glitch-heavy electronic compositions, and together, the collective came up with a lovely, reflective little slab of media that sounds rather unlike anything the electronic underground has offered in some time.  The oud, particularly, plays a rather heavy role in the proceedings, actually forming the basis for many of the compositions as Thilges primaries Gammon and Nik Hummer play around it, rather than vice versa.  The result is a lovely approximation of Persian and Afghan songcraft, with surprisingly subtle bits of electronics mixed in to add an effectively alien element to it all.  The star of the show, however, is (perhaps predictably) Jooya, whose often multi-tracked, always eerily calm vocals offer a vague sense of mysticism to their backdrop; “Mehraban Bash” and “Völkische” (on which Jooya contributed lyrics) would be pleasant little compositions without her influence, but they’re no less than sublime with her surprisingly catchy vocal lines.  Thilges’ new approach may not highlight their own production skills, but their surprisingly humble decision to take a backseat to the talents of their guests on La Double Absence has paid off in spades.

La Double Absence


We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

Zeshan B Performs Late Night Set at Mercury Lounge After Colbert

// Notes from the Road

"Powerful Chicago soul-singer dips into the '60s and '70s while dabbling in Urdu, Punjabi and Italian.

READ the article