vital weekly 904: three reviews

Releases on Silentes are getting a bit more sparse these days, perhaps because of the economic tide etc, but I am also happy to note that they do more and more LPs. However the first new one is a CD with Gianluca Favaron on computer and one Corrado Altieri, who gets credit for electronics and tapes. Favaron is a man whose work appeared a lot on Silentes (as we’ll see here too), and I never heard of Altieri. The eight tracks on ‘The System Of Objects‘ are relatively short: the whole album doesn’t last more than thirty-five minutes and it’s inspired by the book of the same name by Jean Baudrillard. In much of Favaron’s work ambient and drones play an important role, even when they are created with the use of the computer. In this particular work however we find him in a somewhat more noisy role, owing more to musique concrete than to ambience. The whole thing has some heavily treated acoustic feel to it, creating seven quite densely knitted pieces of electronic music. Be this field recordings, be this acoustic sounds created with contact microphones, or whatever else, it’s treated into great monolithic blocks of sound. In only a few pieces this kind of minimalism is left behind and more things happen at the same time, such as in the opening piece ‘Objects And Time 1’. An excellent release of highly vibrant electronic music. Quite raw and intense, exactly the kind of noise I like. Not meaningless and pointless carrying on forever, but seven sharp, contrasting blasts.
As Under The Snow Favaron works with Stefano Gentile, who plays acoustic guitar and treated guitar picks, and Favaron is responsible for ‘programming, electronics and signal processing’. They have released a bunch of CDs (see Vital Weekly 771, 786 and 826) of their improvised playing, in which the laptop picks up the guitar sound and treats that on the spot. Following a start in which the laptop seemed to prevail, the later releases had a more fine tuned balance of straight guitar sounds and laptop processing. This one sided LP has a twenty minute piece which continues the chosen road of the previous releases and shows us more crackles, static hiss and bangs on the guitar. Maybe a bit more chaotic than before, I thought, bringing out the element of improvisation more than on the previous releases. At the same time there is also a bit more drone like sounds, closing off the LP, and taking away some of the emptiness previously found in their music. I think it’s great to see them slowly develop and become more and more like an improvised working unit. The combination of live laptop processing a live guitar is perhaps not something that hasn’t been done before, as noted before, but again here, this seems to work rather well.
And then, finally, a solo work of Favaron, also on an one sided LP – both of these LPs are highly limited to less then 100 copies and are pressed on grey vinyl.  Skip what I said about drone/ambient in Favaron’s work, as on his solo LP he’s taking the work he did with Corrado Altieri to another level. Here we have clearly acoustic sounds, which the cover describes as ‘objects’, and ‘effects’. It seems to me these objects are being strummed, hit or banged and then sampled and fed through a bunch of effects. Here too we are dealing with the more louder areas of musique concrete, but unlike the CD with Altieri, the pieces are shorter here, almost in a sketch like fashion, going all over the acoustic spectrum, cutting in and out with the electronic transformations there of. The objects are used clear and dry, even when not revealing what these objects are, but in the process of mixing, all sorts of transformations are used to make a nice vibrant mix of all stages of the transformation process. Not always very noisy, such as in the fourth (and longest) piece, but it’s a fine mixture of loud and quiet, through some highly intelligent compositions/improvisations (hard to make up my mind here). I thought it was fine that Under The Snow was a single sided record, but here I wouldn’t have minded a second side with more music. This all sounded great. Three excellent releases! (FdW)