Poignant Errors, Monochrome Replicas

Near-excellence and head-scratching choices in this couple of releases from Taylor Deupree’s ever-prolific ventures.

TOMASZ BEDNARCZYK – Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

The splendidly titled third outing by Bednarczyk, following two albums on Lawrence English’s Room40, Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow displays the essence of a insightful young man who, at only 23 years of age, shows that he’s already gone much deeper than many run-of-the-mill wallpaper generators by stretching processed sources – normal instruments such as guitar and piano – and spicing them with a modicum of digital dirtiness. The record’s sequence is structured like the opposite sides of a vinyl album: the initial five tracks are gorgeous loopscapes that give an idea of incommensurable vastness, glowing lights in a placid sea at sunset, in part symbolized by Joanna Kurkowska’s fabulous sleeve pictures. It’s that kind of resonance which instantly sets the mechanism of our interiority at work, the consequence a grief-stricken suspension eliciting apparently faded memories while retrieving the feel of warmth and the magnificent perfumes of adolescent solitude. After an interlocutory track for piano and domestic environmental recordings slightly blemished by a minimum of interference, the virtual B-side shifts the balance towards less contemplative, if still rather static deterioration of happiness, privileging vaguely ominous atmospheres characterized by lower frequencies and, in general, a non-shimmering type of sonority. Although I have a preference for the first half’s evocative power, there’s no doubt that this Polish artist is a figure that must be kept under close watch: if he doesn’t bend to the laws of mediocrity that sooner or later affect whoever works with drones and loops (except the indisputable masters), a bright future of emotional depictions is all but assured, and we’ll be there listening. (12k)

TU M’ – Monochromes Vol.1

The duo of Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli, Tu M’ are a pretty well known item in the realm of current multimedia expression, even if my acquaintance with their body of work is extremely limited. Furthermore, I never trust what’s written on magazines and websites, be it positive or negative, without a deeper investigation. Quoting from the press release, “The Monochromes series is a collection of modular audio and video compositions for chamber ensemble”. Great, this enquirer thinks, fantasizing about some sort of transformation of the instrumental properties of a broken consort wandering around Gavin Bryars territories. Instead, the record begins with “Monochrome # 01”, the unashamed correspondence of the music with William Basinski’s heartbreaking loopery right there for us to “marvel” at in 14’34” of blatant similarity, only deprived of the “decay factor”. “Monochrome # 02” is undeniably better, although – again – not shining with originality: loops are still the foundation, yet this time their temperament belongs to the “muffled” genus, rendering the whole static to a greater extent and overwhelmingly cloudy; it works fine in any case, its effects on the mind welcomed with ease. The third chapter introduces a degree of refreshing dissonance, two/three relatively complex harmonic washes sluicing contiguously, over and over, similarly to asynchronous ripples drawing strange geometries in liquid mirrors. In the half-hour of “Monochrome # 04”, the song remains fundamentally the same: while there’s nothing to hold against the cuddling tolerability of this motionless permanence (which in this particular piece recalls a bit of Thomas Köner’s uninhabited vistas), as a mere listening experience the frozen recurrence of related foggy frequencies – minus the visual counterpart – makes probably less sense, despite a consistently entrancing aura that, let me stress it, does not reveal anything previously unheard, as nattily imbued of mesmeric mist as this stuff is. Had the initial Basinski rip-off been avoided, the final score would definitely be higher. (Line)

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