ANDREW LESLIE HOOKER – In Emptiness There Is Truth (Call No Man Happy Until He Is Dead)

Entr’acte

Seijiro Murayama: voice; Stefano Pilia: voice recording engineer and EQ; John Duncan: original stereo mix; Andrew Leslie Hooker: all other sounds, recording, editing and mixing

If you take a conscientious look at these notes, the conceptual ramifications underlying this music will unquestionably be better deepened than contenting yourselves with a mere review’s synthetic account. Personally speaking, it is a curious coincidence that the city hosting this site-specific composition in 2010 was Ravello (in the Italian region of Campania), where your reporter was literally stunned by the place’s dizzy heights many years ago (the local vistas on the sea are absolutely breathtaking). A similar type of mental suspension reappeared after subjecting myself to sequential listens of In Emptiness There Is Truth, which in essence consists of 45 minutes shaped by an extremely ductile “ghost overtone choir” replete with feedback signals and what the composer calls “lower-case sonics” (I didn’t understand if actual voices, perhaps treated, live in the mix). Amidst the wrinkles of this psychically influencing substratum, Murayama emerges with a series of hagridden vocalizations halfway through a silently strained gargle and the gasping of someone in dire need of oxygen. The whole creates a state of floating anguish, underlined by a sense of aural instability not too distant from certain metamorphic environments typical of Roland Kayn’s cybernetic creatures, though definitely more “minimalist” in its asphyxiating reiterative traits. Circumstances of the very John Duncan’s aesthetic are not irrelevant to this recording, either; not only in the gist of the sound, but also as far as complex human implications are concerned. Ultimately, a statement born for an external environment whose acoustic validity is confirmed in a home listening scene. But several attempts are required to really get into the core of the matter.

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