Afe Records is a label of contemporary electronica and post-ambient materials run by Andrea Marutti which released a few veritable gems in the past.
TIZIANO MILANI – Im Innersten
Milani is an “acoustic architect” from Vercurago, a small town in the northern area of Italy characterized by the placid waters of Lecco’s Lake, around which wonderful landscapes unfold. I thought I’d mention this because, despite the myriads of occurrences typifying it, his music seems to reflect the calmness of a long walk in the country, perhaps along a river (or, why not, a lake…) barely broken by the minute incidences that insect life, or bird talking, introduce in the overall tranquillity. Yet Im Innersten comprises many elements whose derivation is far from bucolic, their superimposition generated through complex processes that, in the composer’s words, create “a continuous flux where all events coming from a different origin interact, so that each of them contains all the others in itself”. To realize these delightfully unsolved textures, a computer processed pre-amplified omnidirectional sources captured by a microphone in a reverberating room. This is not a typical ten-second-Lexicon-Hall album hiding absence of ideas, though. In this circumstance, we’re satisfied by a sonic heterogeneity based upon familiar presences mildly enhanced by an intelligent use of electronics. It’s a quiet, but not boring series of electroacoustic interactions in which found sounds, electronic radiations and normal instruments generate an ear-rubbing cloth that appears trademarked by names such as Paul Schütze and Ralf Steinbrüchel, even if Milani successfully strives to maintain a trait of individuality. A clever work, dappled that necessary much to prevent wearisomeness from kicking in, elegantly gratifying and – especially in the final track “From Order To Border” – causing interesting reactions in the mechanisms of memory.
FHIEVEL – Pipe Smoking On A Balloon
This outing epitomizes the necessity, for many people, of avoiding like plague the fact of having someone else trying to describe their efforts, especially if those who do are translating from an indigenous idiom without understanding that certain subtleties are required in an international language. On the press release of this disc by Luca Bergero/Fhievel there’s a hilarious illustration (also available on Afe’s website if you need a good laugh) penned by a Manuele Cecconello whose error-infested preposterous imagery – derived by the literal transposition of Italian into English, which is the best way to appear as a loon sometimes – certainly doesn’t help an album that makes of its modesty a salient trait. So let’s put an end to artificial grammar complications (how peacock-ish a difficult terminology is, huh? There are lots of traps under the smoke and the mirrors of pointlessness) and concentrate on the music, which in this occasion is not too hard. The record – a reissue of a 50-copy limited edition originally on the Polish imprint Um/Ko – is quite simple indeed, juxtaposing caressing minimal electronica (you know, easy melodic fragments and quivering pulsations that sound “humanly normal”) and spurious noises of the rustle/interference/white noise derivation. This goes on, more or less evenly, for circa 37 minutes exclusive of any sort of surprise, in pleasingly calm fashion. Not a masterpiece for the ages, not at all, but definitely something that’s not harmful to the ears and, in some instances, even agreeable despite the superficial glimmering. It works adequately at medium volume with no disproportionate application, letting the wavering and the throbbing do the work minus intellectual pretences. Still, this is a classic case of “listened-archived-forgotten in a week” CD. Significance lies elsewhere.
JOHN HUDAK – Miss Dove Mr. Dove
Intended by the composer as “background/sound music”, this album was made with software treatments of previously recorded sounds of doves, the birds captured in 2007 in a small town in the Czech Republic, where Hudak and family were visiting their relatives. I’m not really sure about what to say. As much as I have a measure of respect for this artist, because the sincerity (often bordering on naïveté) that he puts in his work is palpable, there’s not a lot to be excited for here. Almost a whole hour of casually deployed micro-peeping, interesting for a while but, with the passage of time, becoming rather tiresome in its semi-anarchic design. The general sonority equals picking electric guitar strings in the overacute register and applying a tiny degree of slide, oscillation and acceleration to the deriving figurations. Undersized bleeps, atonal whistling, thin powders, you get the point. One could shout that this is real minimalism, yet this definition cannot be applied as – per Hudak’s indications – we should not pay accurate attention to what happens. Then again, an entrancing repetition would ideally determine some sort of enhanced awareness. Instead, this stuff is very likely to annoy those who are not well-versed in this kind of experimentation, and maybe even a few who are. This man has definitely given us better things in other occasions.