lunedì 22 marzo 2010

3/4HadBeenEliminated - "S/t"

Label: Bowindo
Year: 2004

This awkwardly named ensemble is the collaboration between three of Bowindo's central players and co-founders, Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti, and Valerio Tricoli. The latter's Did They Did I? is one of the young label's best releases so far, and his comrades are no strangers within the budding Italian scene, Pilia with a CDR of beautiful droning guitar pieces on the Last Visible Dog label and Rocchetti with at least one lauded recording as Kitano. And while it might not be appropriate to call this disc the work of a "supergroup," as the sixth and latest Bowindo release it feels, at least, like the label's first truly essential product, the trio matching each other's talents to create a seven-part cycle of radiant acoustic imagery. 3/4HadBeenEliminated's 45 minutes unfurl in a graceful, gripping sweep that combines the Italians' tendencies towards lyrical improvisation and colorful electroacoustics, with a grounding in the kind of baroque assemblage techniques championed by people like Dean Roberts and Jim O'Rourke. It is a roomy collage of found sounds, entranced piano and strings, featherweight percussion, and the small-yet-tactile electronic manipulations most Bowindos manage with the such grace. Whole tracks are swallowed within drones of unquenchable warmth, carryovers from Pilia's Healing Memories record but without as grand a presentation, suggesting rather the distant, saturated golds of a Klimt painting. As with previous Bowindo releases, field recordings get incorporated in such a way that they guide or introduce certain portions of the piece rather than float along as surface filler, a subtle but effective way of carving an environment from the work itself. The result is the same kind of unreal ambience labelmate Guiseppe Ielasi regularly produces, an unpredictable landscape that reveals, only in afterthought (or aftershock), the rigorous method of its creation. At points during the disc a beautiful chamber ensemble emerges, picking apart minimal, plaintive lines, as if at the cue of a particular broken glass or cheap electronic whine. The effect of this invented troupe of players, slinking ghostly between so many golden guitar drones, sheets of harmonium haze, and assorted earthen resonance, only to appear with the arbitrary quickness of a twig snapping underfoot, is simply breathtaking, many listens over. "Bedrock" travels from a tender, big-band shuffle sounding almost like the Bad Seeds at their most sublime, to a lengthy area of abrasive shatter and pop, garage ambience that still manages to feel like just another station along the disc's narrative. When the associative strains of guitar and percussive foundations disappear, more discrete patterning of electrical hums, engine turnovers, and minor tape treatments become attempts at maintaining the momentum and sonic density of a particular moment, a method aimed at continuity rather than clash, and one that helps to create an incredibly fluid sound-world, full of juxtapositions, but ones which provide an indecisive magical middle passage. It's rare that works this complex also succeed in feeling as direct, regardless of particular directives changing with each listen, a compliment that can be paid to most of the Bowindo/Fringes releases I've heard. Discovering this label has been a joy, and both of its 2004 releases will rank among my favorites for the year. -( Andrew Culler,


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