This collaboration between pianist Harold Budd and Italian sound designer, guitarist, and DJ Erlado Bernocchi is the soundtrack for an installation at Italy's Palazzo Delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea by videographer Petulia Mattioli and poet Mara Bressi. Six of the seven pieces are played by the duo -- the opening track is a gorgeous piano improvisation by Budd. Bernocchi sculpts spaced-out sonic washes, fractured breakbeats designed from the human voice, exotic percussion, controlled feedback, and numerous other sources, all of which are painted by Budd's piano. The juxtaposition of these layered electronics with Budd's lilting piano works in large part because Bernocchi understands that no matter how dense he gets, he has to leave room for the assertion of melodic intervention. Budd rises to the challenge to channel his normally ethereal right hand pianistic minimalism with a sense of repetition and syncopation that pulls his instrument out front even when the beats become loopy and hard. A fine illustration is on "Fragment Two," where Indian percussion, synth bass, tom tom and snare loops, and a vocal sample all wind together and Budd's playing at first hovers and then pulls together all the disparate elements into a harmonic whole. The skeletal atmospherics Bernocchi uses to frame Budd's darkly minor piano on "Fragment Three" are gripping yet quiet creating a kind of ambient noir. Most of these pieces are in the eight-and-a-half minute range, but the final two are stretched. "Fragment Six" uses minimal bleached out soundscapes until about four minutes in when dub rhythms begin to articulate themselves, gurgling under at first and then becoming more prescient. Budd floats and swoops into the backbeat. On the final fragment, which is over 20 minutes, sonic abstraction holds sway for nearly seven minutes before Budd states a theme and Bernocchi answers dubwise with high pitched tweaks and screeches. Budd answers with his jazz chops, vamping on the rhythms, offering a ghostly melodic center as he adds rhythmically with syncopated runs and vamps. In sum, this is a beautiful offering , one that showcases the talents of both men equally and creates something entirely distinct, unusual, and utterly lovely to listen to.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek