LEA BERTUCCI – All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

NNA Tapes

I had made a mental note of deepening the acquaintance with Lea Bertucci’s music after having stumbled upon an article about her activities. I’m delighted to report that this has been one of the sporadic instances where the appearance of a young artist in a magazine was entirely justified by the sheer quality of the proposal rather than poète maudit looks or trendy statements of intents.

“Quality” in this case translates as the healthful effect of sounds rising from silence, transiting across a perturbed peacefulness to frequently end into discordant edginess, keeping a firm grip on this writer’s curiosity over almost an hour. Although everything herein was designed with the purpose of looking into the acoustic responsiveness of predetermined locations, the difference between your average purveyor of highly priced ankle-deep installations and Bertucci’s realistic investigations is brought by the extreme closeness of the intervals, often approaching the “uneasy unison” status by the way of microtonal increments.

The strings retain both faces of their essence in these two pieces. In “The Cepheid Variations” the pureness of the upper partials mixes attractively with the inherent grime of certain bowing techniques, whereas in “Double Bass Crossfade” a good portion of the dynamic alterations is supplied by the very players’ movement inside the recording environment in addition to what the score suggests. The total of the parts – including tape-derived enhancements and explorative amplification – yields soundscapes of ethereal traces crucially marked by the corporeality of the pitches. Letting these austere oscillations free to ricochet warrants the best results while pushing the release at safe distance from wallpaper pointlessness; infinitesimal shifts and barely intelligible sonic grains gift the captive audience with a renewed aural perspective every time.

In a nutshell, this is a bona fide compositional effort deserving to be judged as such; our feelings – for what they’re worth – are definitely optimistic. On the basis of this cassette, Bertucci looks like a specimen of earnest researcher not really comparable to other practitioners in this field. Let’s see where her next steps are directed.

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