Review of August [12k1044]


The somniloquies on the sixth full-length from musician Giuseppe Ielasi are compellingly cinematic, though lucid in their detailed description. Rumblings from guitar, piano, hammond organ, and synthesizer evolve and divide like amoebas filmed in real time, their irregular movement marked against the steady flickering of static. This process establishes a mosaic of sound which possesses a hypnotic and energizing directness. While these percolating elements cohere to form an iridescent glow of waking machinery, of crucial point is the fact that they nevertheless maintain a strong sense of clarity and distinctness, never dissolving into vapidness. This is epitomized in the second track, where tense strands of energy from guitar and hammond organ are dissolved into a gray monolith of short-wave timbres. Also circling around this core, though, are piano and Hammond organ, which are positively alive with multitudinous timbres and fragmented melodic ideas. The plaintive, cracked, and waywardly inventive quality of the compositions makes for rather moving music. On the fourth selection, too, the piece is pitch-shifted such that it unsettles any real sense of serenity, yet at the same time, the central theme remains very much present, eternally pulsing with unsaturated crystalline potential. Unlike some of his other releases, Ielasi never meddles with the listeners’ perceptual instincts. Instead, in using an expansive and elongated aural field, subtle gradations in texture, and dynamic and melodic intervals, not to mention a certain mournful mood, he continually provokes a renewed sense of wonder. The fifth composition brings this all to a close. Full of timbral friction, the piece wavers like a massive cosmic sigh. As one has come to expect from Ielasi, however, it is restrained and candid in approach, making this one of his most direct and personal statements yet. (MS)

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