Reviews — Improv & Avant-Garde

Nick Storring, Exclaim!, February 16, 2012

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.

This is recommended