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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scoolptures - White Sickness (Leo Records, 2011) ****½

By Stef

I have been listening to this album for the last couple of weeks, and there's rarely been a day when I did not put the album on. And that's a very good sign. And the reason is quite simple : this is weird, mesmerising music, a great sequel to "Materiale Umano", their debut album.

The Italian quartet are Nicola Negrini on bass, metallophone and live electronics, Achille Succi on bass clarinet and alto sax, Philippe "Pipon" Garcia on drums and live electronics, and Antonio Della Marina on sinewaves and live electronics.

The band's music is minimalist in the sense that sounds and sound textures are the critical building blocks of their creations, but then again that is not entirely true because Succi plays long and often moaning phrases, and sometimes sounds are repeated by the live electronics.

Like the novel "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, to which the album's title refers, the universe created here is inhospitable, floating in nature, with several stylistic elements that take out familiarity or discard with known reference points that could provide comfort, while at the same time being human in a very basic emotional way, taking out all the stuff that does not matter. And it is the latter that draws me in, time and time again.The sad sax or bass clarinet, the incredibly powerful and warm bass tones, the precise percussion and the overall uncanny electronics create a superb listening experience.

It is so sensitive that it hurts.

© stef