SCOTT AMENDOLA / JASON HOOPES / ELLIOTT SHARP / ROBERTO ZORZI – Four Corners Make A Circle

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Long-distance teamwork has become a classic of mandatory lockdown periods. For a reviewer, the consequences of other people’s solitary torment translate as being subjected to all kinds of hypothetically creative proposals, occasionally eliciting reactions along the lines of “better staying alone with your depression”. However, in the case of these gentlemen here, it took me a while before realizing (after perusing the introductory notes) that this record was not the result of a collective studio improvisation, so fresh and consistent does it sound in its well-regulated pseudo-anarchy. Scott Amendola, Jason Hoopes, Elliott Sharp and Roberto Zorzi need no introduction; the list of instruments utilized for the source recordings can be found in the release’s Bandcamp page.

Seven tracks – all but the opening “Folksong” between ten and twelve minutes in length – comprise music that, for its large part, transfers a sense of meditative ebullience, as preposterous as this expression may seem. The interweaving of paradoxical sonorities, the persistent proximity of congruency and discordance, the merging of unblemished timbre and unredeemed distortion, were impeccably mixed from the individual contributions in a coherent whole. Levitating modules replete with echoing splinters alternate with sets of downright disfigured tones. Singable cues can be detected within a devastating chaos. The power of the “rhythm section” supports ideas apparently disconnected from a relatively normal reality. And that’s what’s indeed great: in due time, you will perceive this improbable electroacoustic malleability as familiar. Not only that: also extremely pleasant, and somehow even restful.

The participants’ respective souls and experiences obviously contribute to smoothen any residual edge of misunderstanding. Still, fixating on “who played what” is clearly pointless: Four Corners Make A Circle should be absorbed exactly as it was presented to us. Spend a few days with it, at full volume or more quietly; learn to discern its divergent dynamics and multifaceted structures. Believe it or not, it works effectively as a background soundtrack, too. In a nutshell, a rather unique album.

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