Review of Drape [12k1041]

Headphone Commute (US)

I think that it’s appropriate to begin this label special with a collaboration between Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree himself, titled Fridman Variations, a three-piece limited edition vinyl (and digital as well) with recordings and reworkings of a live performance at Fridman Gallery in New York City in February of 2018 for the New Ear Festival. For the 18-minute experimental improvisation on the A side, and the two entirely new works recomposed, comprising of the original live source material on the flip side of the 12″, the duo work the guitar (Vitiello), modular and small tape synths (Deupree) into a drifting meditation of acoustic textures, lo-fi shuffles, and the exploratory interactions thereof. “The improved layers draw on buried melodies and a hint of field recordings and found textures […] not overly melodic, not overly noisy […] finding the edge between the pretty and the obscure…” The archival document of a live performance carries with it a particular moment captured in time, including the presence of the listeners deep in the night, and the surrounding ambience of the venue itself. The variations then build advance on the approach, a bit more polished front and centre in a “controlled studio environment.” The two sides complement each other very well, to demonstrate the duo’s ability in applying sparse control to the evolving soundscapes, and to the strength in simply letting go to see what then unfolds, emits, arises. Those familiar with their previous collaboration on 12k, Captiva (2014) will find themselves at home with this performance.

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