A Belgian label met for the first time. Mixed feelings.
PHIL MAGGI – Blue Fields In Paramount
Maggi is essentially a vocalist who uses his natural instrument to initiate a whole world of superimposed and broadened morphing mantras and reach states of selfless entrancement. But that’s not all: for this CD, he utilized field recordings from Croatia (including road musicians and the insides of a church) and modified samples of classic music to create a sheltering sonic structure that welcomes repeated tries, despite being composed of elements that couldn’t really be described as previously unheard. Indeed there’s virtually everything you could expect for a homemade spellbinding trip: backward tapes, sounds of dripping water, tangled loops, stretched-out chorales. Yet Maggi applies the necessary touches with a considerable measure of – dare I say – love for life which is constantly noticeable. This transforms an otherwise ordinary album in a relieving episode of introspective transcendence, spiced with attention-grabbing snippets from different cultures adding to the intrigue. In synthesis, one of my favourite non-groundbreaking outings of 2009. Curious to hear more from this man.
Y.E.R.M.O. – Collision Zone
A combination of two duos – Yannick Franck and Xavier Dubois (Y.E.R.M.O.) versus visual artists Nadine Hilbert and Gast Bouschet – for the soundtrack of the Luxembourg Pavillion at 53th Venice Biennale in 2009. The press release says that this is an “invocation of the coldness and cruelty of a border zone between two worlds”, but these “qualities” appear as a façade hiding an inadequate sonic substance. The music is dominated by cumulative distortion for its large part, an amassment of saturated guitars at the limit of tolerability occupying a sizeable portion of the CD. As time elapses, a few ingredients are added: unremitting percussion, field recordings, industrial hues. The feeling remains one of (supposed) threat until the end. The problem, as usual, lies in the fact that this kind of stuff works probably better when experienced on site; quite honestly, as a simple recording on disc it doesn’t amount to much. There’s nothing that I haven’t heard before and even the “menace factor” is not working properly, all of those clangorous roars leaving this listener reasonably unconvinced.