It has become increasingly harder for composers to find a distinctive voice, it seems -- at least after Morton Feldman. Pierluigi Billone shows similarities with Helmut Lachenmann (one of his teachers) and many other European composers who came after him and favored ensemble textures over melodic material. "Mani.long" (45 minutes in duration, the only track on this album) is an interesting piece, rich in events and more rewarding with every listen, but in the end it still leaves a weak impression, despite a commendable effort from the Viennese ensemble Klangforum Wien to give life to the score. The music consists of percussion-heavy passages that recall seminal Varèse and Boulez compositions offset by droning sections where Billone makes clever use of French horn, contrabass clarinet, bass marimba, and double bass. Around the 31st minute, someone (possibly conductor Johannes Kalitzke) reads the sound poem "Hands/Ancestors" by Richard Long. The syllables are only faintly heard, which creates an awkward moment in the piece -- it loses momentum for little reason, since the recitation can go completely unnoticed if you don't pay very close attention. Around the 40th minute the music swells again, becoming noisier and temperamental, setting the table for the extreme dynamic shifts of the finale.
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