An odd but artistically successful proposition. — Monsieur Délire, Québec
… every time I play it, I regret it’s over. — Vital, Netherlands
“Building on one’s mistakes. Finding one’s bearings in one’s own uneven breath. No make-up nor search for meaning. An uncontrollable hiccup. Flashes of light that leave one short of breath. Trying to not think too much. Embracing the toxicity of the situation. Spasmodic meditation.” (Guido Del Fabbro)
CD (ET 16)
- Label: &records
- ET 16
- Total duration: 34:48
- 130 mm × 130 mm × 3 mm
- 25 g
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This is a very different endeavour for Montréal violinist/multi-instrumentalist Guido Del Fabbro (Rouge Ciel, Fanfare Pourpour, etc.). This solo album is a whole different story than Carré de sable or Agrégats. Short at 35 minutes, it features five compositions superimposing tracks of electronics, analog synthesizers, and violin/recorder loops. Each track weaves a strange, alienating, yet fully functional soundworld. An odd but artistically successful proposition.
The picture of Guido Del Fabbro shows a young man with a violin, which in the opening seconds/minutes of his Ctenophora release shows. But it quickly moves into something else, and that something else is not easy to define. At first it seems that it’s all electronic manipulation of those first few violin sounds, but the cover also lists ‘flutes a bec’ and ‘electroniques’ as well as ‘synthetiseurs’, but these instruments are also presented as they are. That makes an odd result of improvisation, composition, analogue and electronic music. Quite interesting music I must say, perhaps because its so difficult to define. At times very modern classical, but then with all those microscopic pulses, gliding electronic scales, crackles, also very much the work of improvised electro-acoustic music. Fascinating collision of styles and ideas in some gorgeous sounding set of five pieces. Could have been seven as far as I’m concerned, as every time I play it, I regret it’s over.
This release occupies a very rarefied and odd aesthetic, evocatively pitting flurries of remote-sounding electronics against thin sinews of violin. The disc oscillates between a type of ironed-out fiddle music (all ornamentation and melodic contours pressed neatly into fibrous drones) and crackling electrostatic emissions, synthetic hacks and bleats ― a renovated version of sounds from the bygone era of analog abstraction and punch-card operated computing. Said oscillation happens so seamlessly that the listener becomes thoroughly entangled in this neatly woven, rosin-sticky web of hoarse, woody violin lines and arcane-ring-modulated rays and trickles of sound. And while it’s not all just a blast from the past, even so it tends to flicker with the stark futurism of Cluster’s 71, rather than recalling the neon whimsy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Another point of reference, despite Del Fabbro having a more deliberate and active approach, is Ryan Driver and Eric Chenaux’s synth/guitar duets as the Guayaveras (documented on Rat-Drifting). Reminiscences aside, Ctenophora is a unique and strange release that manages to pull together seemingly polarized sonic territory (melody and noise, electronic and acoustic, etc.) in a highly idiosyncratic manner. This is recommended.