With an interest in the concept of “continuum” made explicit via microtonal fluctuations, an affiliation with Gilles Deleuze, and an album titled exactly as one of Roland Kayn’s masterpieces, musicologist and composer Pascale Criton could not fail in catching the attention of this rapidly deteriorating reviewer. How knowledgeable the latter is, you might exclaim in amazement. “How does this Ricci guy know so many facts?” The answer is: Wikipedia. In fact, I had never heard of Criton before meeting this record. Bad for me, of course, and for the countless earthborn satellites of a despairing ignorance. This is intriguing music, to say the least.
The pieces are executed in varying partial combinations by Ensemble Dedalus, namely Didier Aschour (guitar), Amélie Berson (flute), Thierry Madiot (trombone), Silvia Tarozzi (violin), Deborah Walker (violoncello). The absorption of the overall vibrational impact is regulated and enhanced by – you guessed it – the tuning of the instruments. Nothing in this universe is capable of connecting a body/mind wholeness to superior levels of apprehension than the theoretically “spurious” resonance of acoustic mechanisms adjusted to the different molecular motility elicited by unusual ratios. Therefore leave the “quantum physics for beginners” bullshit at home, and perceive a fractal divergence that nobody will be able to explicate without sounding like a grandiloquent cretin, or an out-and-out philostopher.
“Process Of Five” is a gripping expedition across the organic traits of abysmal nothingness, probably the finest representation of Criton’s intents. “Steppings” may be described as a miniature variation on Tony Conrad and Faust’s Outside The Dream Syndicate hastily performed in absence of electricity. The 17-minute “Chaoscaccia” (credited to Criton and Walker) appears as a consecutiveness of shorter virtuosic segments linked together, but still puts the brain’s innards in a condition halfway through hopeless incertitude and focused sentience, with several instants of pregnant murmur thrown in for good measure. The four-part suite “Bothsways” opening the program is shaped by more concise statements, in a way serviceable as a preamble of sorts to the longer chapters.
All in all, Infra is a classic sleeper for seriously drilled listening specimens. The first, and maybe even the second attempt produce a “mmh, nice” kind of response. Already at the third, that gets turned into “uh-oh, let’s perk our ears up”. At that moment, the volume is cranked louder; the consequences are concrete and immeasurable at once.
Modesty has its own manner of rising and shining. Sometimes.