An unusual album from Kotä Records, Gopchang Leftovers incorporates multiple styles and focuses on none. The album was conceived during a residency in Seoul, but even that doesn’t explain the diversity on display. Until one listens all the way through, one cannot comprehend the overall theme.
The title refers to a Korean delicacy: intestines and vegetables. While this might not sound tasty to some, remember that Scotland has its haggis and Iceland its hákarl. As to the leftovers, they may be metaphorical; now that Fernando Visockis has returned to São Paulo, he’s left with memories and sonic samples. These form the backdrop for a set of impressions that range from the direct (Korean drumming and dialogue) to the manipulated (a 15-minute drone piece buried deep in the album). Six pieces are sampled from a video installation; one (“12zodiacsign”) samples the British composer Max Richter as he re-works an Italian symphony. Such combinations reinforce the idea that the world has become a blend of cultures. To hear Seoul is also to hear what Seoul likes.
The most endearing pieces include the lullaby-esque “Musique trouvé”, which was recorded in a park and preserves the sound of children and cars, and the aforementioned “12zodiacsign”, enhanced by the sound of a boy reading a children’s book aloud. An attentive visitor, Visockis possesses the wide-eyed interest of a child. His incorporation of their voices lends the project an air of innocence. Toward the end of the album, electronic processing darkens the tone, but the interest has already been piqued. This isn’t what we expected Seoul to sound like. The choice to close the album with electromagnetic fields recorded at a trash recovering plant underlines the metaphorical nature of the release. These strange sounds are worth keeping, even if someone else considers them refuse. (Richard Allen)