Markus Popp: Calidostópia!

Electronic composer Markus Popp (Oval) may be best known for his terse, angular, and rhythmically complex micro-compositions, but he seems increasingly interested in making full-fledged songs.

With Calidostópia!, recently released as a download, he’s combined the glitchy pointillism of previous releases, such as 2010’s fascinating O (which I used as a test disc in my “Follow-Up” review of Simaudio’s versatile i3.3 integrated amplifier), with the voices of seven South American singers: Agustín Albrieu of Argentina; Andrés Gualdrón of Columbia; Maité Gadea of Uruguay; Hana Kobayashi of Venezuela; and Dandara Modesto, Aiace Felix, and Emilia Suto of Brazil.

There are so many twists and turns to any Popp composition that I could have never easily imagined his work partnered with the human voice, and certainly not voices such as these—fluid, elegant, graceful—but credit that to my poor imagination more than anything else. This is not the first time Popp has worked with vocalists—his 1993 debut, Wohnton, and 2003 album, So, effectively utilized the human voice—but Calidostópia! feels far more purposeful and fully realized: a clear success, beautiful in composition and sound, and often simply dazzling.

The album was recorded over 10 long days in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and was made possible through support from Goethe Institute and the Cultural Foundation of the State of Bahia. Markus Popp says, “I went to Brazil with tons of released, as well as unreleased material, and returned home with dozens of all-new, beautiful songs.”

You can download Calidostópia! for free, in your choice of 320kbps MP3 or 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC, right here. Over at AudioStream, you'll see that Michael Lavorgna has been digging it, too. (He went with FLAC, of course.)