Thursday, February 5, 2009

Albero Rovesciato - Ancient Shining Drums of the Covered City (Stunned Records CS)

Albero Rovesciato is actually a composite of two Italian dudes now residing in Berlin, Francesco Cavaliere and Marco Lampis. Self described as desiring to escape electronic effects in favor of material contact, the duo successfully opt to do weird the old fashioned way, using vocals, drums, bells, gongs an "objects" to concoct an immersive percussion orchestra piece that travels the spaceways between Varese's "Ionisation," Andrew Cyrille and Milford Graves' "Dialogue of the Drums," and Balinese gamelan.

These guys aren't slouches either. It may sound like chaotic pot and pan handling, but the duo move through their sound realms with a speed and energy that's pretty tough to come by. Hharsh blasts of feedback will enter and disperse as rattling and skittering mini melodies and percussive jaunts explode outwards, creating a classicist meets isolated genius meets mad professor vibe that's pretty strange and hard to pin down in terms of placement. Sometimes it comes across like a Henry Cowell piece and other times it sounds like a three year old dinnerware solo.

The depth of the whole thing is actually pretty astounding considering their instrument choice. One track will be all rattle and crazed percussion worship and the next will be an exploration in the resonance of some crystal bowl or something, ringing about as small gestures are done above it. It is an airy and tactile psychedelia that these two subscribe to, one moment slamming down the soup can stack and the next hovering above the tree line, spatula in hand, all the while exhibiting a directional control subtle in its unpredictability but definite in its shape.

Definitely one of the more difficult releases on Stunned yet, not to mention one of the hardest to describe. Not really any way of summing it all up except that there is as much there as you could ask. Real works that drone and splatter their way into some sound worlds not often explored. Also worth mentioning is that despite their lo-fi approach, the recording quality here is actually quite impressive. Every nuance is beautifully captured, giving the whole work a spacious quality that really takes into account the room being played in. One to return to again and again, thee guys will have you finding new moments of beauty forever with this one. Great artwork too, complete with J-card. Unfold it for full effect. Can't quit these guys.

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