TOM RECCHION – Proscenium

Elevator Bath

If attention-grabbing sounds are the quintessence of our living as sympathetic listeners, there are 67 minutes of legitimate bliss waiting for the 500 fortunate owners of this stunning limited edition, which contains four tracks on a LP, two on a 7-inch and a card to download a high-quality mp3 version of the album. The latter is what was used for the writeup, given the chance of listening without breaks and my ever-mounting hate for vinyl noise ruining the enthralment brought forth by superb electronica.

Proscenium takes its origin from a commission by filmmaker and puppeteer Janie Geiser: Recchion conceived these soundscapes for a play called Invisible Glass, defining them a “sound world for the viewer” centred around a set of shifting atmospheres.

“The Mesmerized Chair” and “Entrance Music No.2” comprise perhaps the work’s more introvert shades. Adjectives like “subaqueous” and “stifled” instantly spring to mind, the frequencies oscillating between “swelling” and “chubby”. Trying to understand the derivation of the acoustic materials becomes a case of pitiable anal-retentiveness, though one can get a vague impression of what will be revealed (so to speak) later on. Deliberate melodic movement and buried forms of life are detectable underneath the droning undercurrents and the malleable substances: those who utter “ambient” are going to be hit on the palms with a stick.

Then we have a sort of slow-as-molasses “orchestral” gradualness in the suggestively declining “Entrance Music No.1”, and an episode of disjointedly rambla-sampladelia in “Exit Music No.1”, whose vocal fragmentariness is enriched by those very typical crackles and pops I was willing to escape from at the beginning, and that here represent a fundamental ingredient instead. The additional shorter pieces “The Haunted Laboratory” and “Lean Your Eye Into The Picture” are not mere fillers. Both broaden and improve the sensation of misshapen otherworldliness and pregnant inscrutability transmitted by the entire program.

Tom Recchion’s universe is not made of easy smiles and low-budget Buddhas. But the strange creatures we seem to perceive as the real animators behind this accumulation of bubbling grief are so nice-looking that a friendship should not be difficult to start.

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