Pablo Montagne: guitars (nylon-string classical and steel-string acoustic models, regular and modified)
There is a difference between listening “to” and “within” the music. Cordale, a protracted dissection – divided in 17 tracks – of the possibilities of acoustic guitars oddly tuned with six matching strings (acute range on the classical, bass on the steel-string) – is one of those records that need the second plan of attack. Montagne, who resides in the Italian region of Puglia, has a multifaceted grounding: he started his instrumental upbringing by learning pieces of (no less) Metallica, then went on to study and cooperate with eminent characters of the present-day landscape, throughout assorted genres. His audible signals are strongly rhythmical, percussively minimalist and altogether entangling. He does not use effects, multi-tracking or post-production hocus-pocus (perhaps a few preparations in selected “clatter-and-thud” environments), yet is able to bring forth arresting flows of energy inside stimulating superimpositions of upper partials and systematic micro-melodic shifts, the whole following the periodical rules of the unfamiliar tunings applied. This substance is both abstract and fleshly, and it’s not difficult to catch Montagne snorting and moaning as he plays across some of the most physically challenging sections. Names that came to mind while enjoying this work were Hans Reichel, Moondog, John Cage (d’oh!), La Monte Young (to a degree). Overall, a mesmerically tactile trip through nerve-cuddling hypnosis, even when the compulsiveness of certain repetitions seems to prevail on the remainder of the music’s features.