Review: Kooba Tercu ‘Proto Tekno’

Having joined Instagram a couple of months ago, I started following Rocket Recordings and one of the acts they showcased on there was Kooba Tercu, The snippets I caught piqued my interest so I decided to give them a shot having reviewed and enjoyed the most recent releases from Pigs x 7 and Sex Swing.

Kooba Tercu 'Proto Tekno'

The band are from Athens though members are also located in Crete and London. They are led by Johnny Tercu, and feature members of Casual Nun and Echo Canyon. Proto Tekno is their third album and their first on Rocket Recordings following last year’s release Kharrüb. The cover art is roots of a tree laying waste to a building built in the Greek classical style. This could symbolise the band’s music destroying staid musical conventions.

Benzoberry kicks off the album and there is a real immediacy to it. It has a propulsive 90s alt-rock feel, think a grimier Therapy? from their Pleasure Death/Babyteeth days. A smart move from the band to grab the listener by the balls from the outset. Cemento Mori starts at a steadier pace with a post-punk feel in the bass/drums interplay betraying a Killing Joke style darkness, it treads a similarish path to Sex Swing, minus the manic Sax Ornette Coleman style freakouts and no wave weirdness. Frontline Assembly style industrial noises open Filter Feeder that not only recalls that band, but also similar outfits of that era ala Skinny Puppy and Foetus. The album title Proto Tekno begins to take on more relevance with this track, harking back to a time when ‘Electronic’ music had invention and not just a vessel for taking bad drugs to.

Sex Swing once again leaps to mind with the longest track on the album Qasan and one wonders whether Johnny has been listening to them whilst recording this record. The track starts off in a similar vein with a pulsating electronic intro. The vocals kick in at intermittent points, reminding one of John Lydon back in his PIL days with the bizarre chanting, as well as Thurston Moore on Sonic Youth’s The Burning Spear (my favourite track of SY by a country mile).

Kooba Tercu are a worthwhile addition to Rocket Recordings catalogue, managing to experiment while remaining totally engaging simultaneously…

We reach over the halfway mark and get to Kamehameha, a track that starts off with some abstract electronic sounds before kicking into a Melvins style groove. Reading up on the meaning of the track name, it’s Hawaiian for ‘The Very Lonely One’, and the vocals do have a certain Hawaiian intonation. You could almost imagine being burnished with Lei (the Flower necklace) while this track is playing in the background. Not an altogether unpleasant image.

Fair Game has a disjointed feel to it, repetitive in its Can like vibes with some Trent Reznor style vocals buried deeper in the mix. Industrial krautrock you could say. Penultimate track Boiler is the second longest on the album and the one that fits with the band’s noise categorisation the best. It’s predominantly instrumental and if you dig the sound of Gnod at their most experimental and avant-garde, than this will be right up your street. Puppy Pile concludes the record on a mellow folktronica note, not a style that makes me leap with any great enthusiasm or excitement but a pleasant enough way to end the album nonetheless.

Kooba Tercu are a worthwhile addition to Rocket Recordings catalogue, managing to experiment while remaining totally engaging simultaneously, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. The myriad of styles is what appeals most to me and as with a lot of the records I enjoy, warrants repeated listening.

Label: Rocket Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills