300 BASSES – Sei Ritornelli

Potlatch

300 Basses is the trio of Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Jonas Kocher and Luca Venitucci. They all play accordion in this scenario, Costa Monteiro and Venitucci integrating the legitimate (…er…) voice of the instrument with unmentioned “objects” (though photos on the web reveal bows and small metal plates, probably employed together with other discomposing materials). The theory behind the trio’s work is that of “liberating” the accordion – one of the most traditional instruments known to mankind – by relating its parts to vibrational principles causing different types of resonance, well beyond its origin of “box with keys and buttons”. On an Italian press release, this project’s sound has been described – quite poetically – as “background noise emerging from our perception”.

For sure there’s neither room for aesthetic compromise, nor for any immediate fraternization with the general audience. Each of the six tracks starts from a restricted part of a given acoustic spectrum and stays there throughout the completion of the operations. The extremes of the pitch range – respectively, low and high – are inspected in “Fuoco Fatuo” and “Maledetto”, also the pieces where the volume is at the softest level. The miscellany of melodically gravelly breathing and irksome discrepant acerbity is at its uppermost harsh in “Abbandonato” and “Gira Bile”, the latter a veritable minimalist see-saw whose oil is progressively leaking until a complete grinding of the mechanism is foreseeable. The rest (“Mala Carne”, “Fantasma”) is resolutely constructed upon the proximity of diverse kinds of jarring vibrations: the type of stuff that causes fair-weathered analysts to privately ask “why should I be subjected to this while listening to a record?”.

The answer is simple: glorious flowers are frequently found in a thorny briar. All you need is grasping the inherent composition of what appears as “noise”, and rationalizing those strident contrasts into chords. Still difficult to handle for many, but chords nevertheless.

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