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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Amidea Clotet – Trasluz (Relative Pitch, 2022)

By Matty Bannond

Most art explores feelings. Some art explores feel. Amidea Clotet uses an electric guitar and amplifier to probe the listener’s ear canal for 43 minutes on Trasluz, provoking a curious array of sensations. The improvised performance shines a bright spotlight on the machinery and mechanisms of the instrument – but with the human artist’s shadowy outline always perceptible in the footlights.

Clotet is an electric guitarist and improviser from Barcelona. Trasluz features seven improvisations where she uses a variety of objects and devices to explore the textural possibilities of the electric guitar as a source for sound amplification. It is her debut album as a soloist and follows a duo record with pianist Agustí Fernández called Spontaneous Combustions, released in 2021.

“A boca de fosc” gets things started with a bowing, saw-toothed sound. Each movement across the strings generates jagged-edged vibrations. Whistling strokes evoke one sharpened blade sweeping along the knife-edge of another. There are fizzing moments, something almost itchy. But pauses and changing methods ensure constant awareness of the artist making real-time decisions.

A sense of hurry and hectic shapes the listening experience on “No ni ná”. There is a popcorn-ish, bubble-wrap texture here. It’s bumpy. Strings get a handful of opportunities to twang in the gaps, reminding listeners that these unfamiliar noises are emerging from the familiar shape of a guitar.

Powerful molars are crunching dinosaur bones on “El que no es diu”. The sound travels along the jaw, while neck muscles shiver and the back of the head tingles. A beast is trapped in this machine.

Trasluz is an album that reaches out through the speakers, grips the listener and challenges them to turn strange auditory stimuli into information. With her various tools and toys, Amidea Clotet performs a visceral and tactile experiment via the mechanical body of her guitar. The machine dominates the sound, sure. But the human actions, taken in the moment, are in the listeners mind and on their skin and in their ear canal for every nanosecond.

The album is available on CD and digital download here.