DaBa is the new album from the Taiwanese, Berlin-based audio-visual artist Sabiwa. That is, audio and visual artist: this duality is so important to this album because Sabiwa not only makes music but also makes music exploring an imaginary space of the listener’s mind. It will sound too abstract, but, while listening with closed eyes, it is possible to see how her music explores a black space. It fills it up, it tracks borders and all sounds mixed by this artist work as visual trajectories.
It feels kind of embarrassing to write this review immediately after assisting -with plenty of doubts- to the birth of the term conceptronica. But let’s face it, accepting the term or not: this is conceptual electronic music. It certainly isn’t danceable, and it’s sure hard to play in a club (I said before that this is an album to be listened to with eyes closed). It’s an album pondered exclusively for personal listening; music is often a social glue, but not this kind of music. DaBa is an audio and visual entity that everyone has to face by his or her own, to explore what his or her sensations and thoughts are.
DaBa is at the same time minimal and a spree of musical references. Sabiwa strips a lot of genres such as trip-hop, harsh noise, musique concrète, and ambient, all while tiptoeing the line between traditional and experimental categorizations; but there are no sound hyperboles. Sabiwa is a clean and precise mixer virtuoso: delivering extremely strong emotions even through minimal sound.
Patching together different dimensions and sonic spaces, DaBa creates a virtual landscape floating between primordial evocations, prayers and hyper-processed concrete sounds, dissolving with the rhythmic clicks and gasps of the album’s title track. “Enigma”, on the other hand, with its pounding, robotic, and drum-free sound attacks the human listener, who is, nowadays, at the technology mercy. Ours is a schizophrenic and masqueraded society, and Sabiwa knows this well and shows it with the circuits or the fragile emotions portrayed by “Crab People”, in the end, among everything we experience, “There is nothing real”.
Listen to DaBa: