Review: Delphine Dora + Sophie Cooper – Divine Ekstasys

Sound as smoke; an effortless rising, expanding and swirling. Instruments melt into eachother as they billow into the air. Falsetto voices curl around the soft streams of trombone, or sink into organ drones like a body collapsing into fabric. There is no tension in this collaboration. No restraint, no compromise. No held breaths, no hesitations. Divine Ekstasys is pure exhalation, steered by collective intuition and a trance-like submergence in the feedback loop of listening and emitting. Through this process, solid objects lose their edges. Synthesisers spill out of their chassis and brass melts itself down. Even Dora and Cooper themselves start to give way, disintegrating the separation of body, and then the separation of mind; the source of these sounds become irrelevant, and all that’s left is the hum of the moment. A sea of vibrations in convectional swirl. Listening and performing as one.

Of course, this sensation owes its potency to the fact that Divine Ekstasys feels live and real-time – a documentation of an event rather than a process of sculptural refinement. I hear the echo of the room that they occupy, which smears the sound into mirage. And I hear them gradually becoming this echo, as Dora’s muttered whispers chase their reflections and loop themselves, and Cooper steers her trombone into the reverb, hovering upon microtonal intervals that cause the cloud of sound to ripple like desert air. And yet, as far as I can tell, there is no post-production enhancement or overdubbing after-the-fact. The album feels like it was captured on two microphones placed on the floor, set to “record” and then forgotten about, as Dora and Cooper embark upon a process that transcends all awareness of its capture, and transcends all awareness of themselves.