STEVEN STAPLETON & CHRISTOPH HEEMANN – Painting With Priests

Yesmissolga

In this Italian performance from seven years ago, Stapleton and Heemann confirmed – as if needed – an innate ability of turning the disjointed qualities of sound-induced alteration into instant composition. The outcome, in this particular episode, will not disappoint the numerous aficionados of each gentleman’s vision. Coming on an LP whose vinyl quality, for a change, is decent enough (I’m still thinking with horror to a couple of Eliane Radigue milestones ruined by huge pops and crackles, with grooves distorting more than a Pro Co Rat guitar pedal), Painting With Priests can certainly be labeled as “mandatory listening”.

Exalting the virtues of amorphousness and fluctuation across a mix of intoxicating fumes and tangible matters, the pair keep an eye constantly open to verify that the balance between abstraction and realism remains on acceptable levels. In that regard, the music’s bulk generates alertness rather than dizziness, its dynamic malleability subverting the concept of regularity with a measure of gradualness, avoiding genuinely shocking methods. This kaleidoscopic hermetism – as richly awkward as it might appear – coincides more or less with what we expected, knowing the artists’ backgrounds and past opuses: looping, droning and “musical noise” on one side, found sounds and awareness of the circumstantial environment on the other. And that feeling of orchestrated damnation – surrounded by wry smiles – that doesn’t require further depiction.

Forty-six minutes of puzzling-as-ever materials capable of tampering with several aspects of individual perception. You can attempt to find distant connections, or study the asynchronous parallelism of certain movements, thus getting involved in a variety of extracurricular moods. Or else, just let the mysterious energies elicited by peculiar rotations and sudden close-ups work subliminally on your persona. Either way, reiterating the experience is a must for optimal effects on the self, or loss thereof.

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