STEPHEN VITIELLO / STEVE RODEN – The Space Contained In Each

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Stephen Vitiello, Steve Roden: all sounds, composition

When a record based on undefined, if partly guessable sources obeys to the two fundamental laws of a serious percipient, that’s the indisputable sign of a release destined to remain in the proverbial annals.

Rule of thumb: spend any conceivable amount of time with the music (this writer is ceaselessly listening since yesterday morning) without getting tired. Second: the balance between reality and its opposites in the sonic recipe should represent the groundwork for achieving a state where the mind encompasses the good and the bad of that moment’s life, treating both with equal disengagement. Sounds inform our existence, and need to be consciously assimilated in order to learn from them. Don’t be bothered by individuals crying for the type of attention which subverts the straight line of internal composure, whoever they might be.

The work in question is part of an installation at Cornelius Chapel, in New York Harbor’s Governors Island; it definitely employs field recordings and modular synthesis – that’s what we get from the liners. Most of all, the constitutional materials were sensibly collected and assembled, producing an impression of moderate warmth even when the landscapes appear godforsaken.

Vitiello and Roden are engrossed by aspects of the metropolitan quotidian imbued with agrestic shades, seamlessly alternating echoes from the characters of variable environments. Their treatments of the original matter turn the aural surroundings into a series of emotionally vivid flashbacks. The timid repetition of a short chronological sequence, looped bells and flutes, certain unsteady frequencies: everything communicates the uneasiness linked to something occurred in the past whose memory seems to haunt and comfort at once. Altered voices – of humans, of birds – and other types of harsher emission add layers of acoustic “impurity”, urging not to lower the guard: a feeling reinforced by outgrowths of mechanical clangors somewhere along the script.

In the blur of a faraway intuition the higher definition of crepitations, sibilations, slight distortions, metallic hits, crumbling soils and falling drops become necessary guide lights. We’re miles and miles distant from the prosaic usage of analogous elements by today’s superficial trawlers, but this had to be obvious when the names fathering The Space Contained By Each were spotted in the first place. This is a terrific, authentically healthy effort by a pair of masters of the game.

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