Review of The Gorilla Variations [12k2013]

The Wire (UK)

This collaboration betwen songwriter Molly Berg and sound artist Stephen Vitiello began witha commission to score a three minute soundtrack for a video by Eder Santos. The subject was a lonely gorilla housed in a Brazilian zoo, and Berg and Vitiello’s original soundtrack stands as an easy exercise in tugging at liberal heartstrings. The maudlin sounds wafting around minor key guitar and spacious arrangements for clarinet are way too obvious for artists as good as Berg, who has worked with Jason Molina in Magnolia Electric Co, and Vitiello, whose inventive installation work has rightfully earned him an international reputation. Fortunately, the two continued to work after the commission was submitted, and a series of variations on the original theme emerged: previously rendered electroacoustic dubs, digital clickscapes smeared out of the original material, and brightly elliptical patterns that allude to Terry Riley.

View Release