Herbal International

Aside from the funny cover (partly explicated by a mini-movie contained in the disc), 2010’s LAlienation is a good album by Sabine Ercklentz and Andrea Neumann, who integrate the origin of their instruments (trumpet and a specially designed amplified piano frame) with cunningly sharp electronics. These procedures yield results that sound organically coalesced and entirely acceptable both rhythmically and compositionally. The artists pay attention to every single constituent of the electroacoustic ambit, at times giving birth to pulsing patterns emerging from peculiar superimpositions of disparate timbral specimens (including the Bialetti espresso machine that gives the title to the first track). Mostly fending off the trivial wheezing-in-tube factor, Ercklentz privileges pop-fizz-and-clatter minute dynamism, which – magnified and duplicated in chains of changing shapes, or just enhanced by equalization – produce textures full of rich-sounding rough edges in a general sense of weightlessness (in this case, a positive trait). Neumann appears to be the one supplying the larger chunks of material for the lower region of the spectrum, besides adding welcome intrusions of springing metal and humming ominousness, but the emissions are so well jumbled that it is often infeasible – and ultimately futile – to recognize who does what. This interesting concoction of deceptively elemental structures and composite resonances releases bewitching scents little by little, and is a pleasure to listen to.

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