Giuseppe Ielasi

Aix

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As an improvising guitarist, Giuseppe Ielasi's nearest antecedents are electro-acoustic wranglers like Dean Roberts and Loren MazzaCane Connors, lateral thinkers who while embracing the instrument's indeterminate qualities -- from pickup noise to amplifier buzz and other sonic anomalies -- take particular care in constructing coherent musical structures from them. Ielasi, also a composer of electronic works that stretch found sounds through a veil of subtle digital processing, is equally concerned with the creation of site-specific works that incorporate instrumental gestures and real world, concrète sources into a complex network of organized, spatialized sound. The two interests complement each other nicely on his 2009 album, Aix. All of the album's nine untitled tracks use rhythmic grids as a structuring motif for heavily randomized sound events, an idea that would appear not so far removed from the more experimental realms of techno, were it not for timbral qualities of the sounds being manipulated, and the total absence of a steady kick drum pulse. Indeed, nothing so much as a deflated 808 bass click drives anything along, the time-keeping implied instead by elliptical furrows of hand percussion cut along evenly spaced segments. The drier structuralist approach here is offset by more opulent melodic motifs and accents, as in the repeated piano figure and jew's harp of "Track 3." But the crux of Aix's post-improv, slo-mo techno appears to be an exploration of acoustic space. The sheer variety of complex instrumental textures (from percussive objects and acoustic drum sets to piano, trumpet, and guitar) set to an array of artificial and natural reverbs, echoes, and stereo imaging, and the subtlety and clarity to which they are deployed, separates this effort from similar records by legions of laptop-wielding experimentalists in the '00s. Aix is a highly recommended release for lovers of post-digital composition and adventurous minimal techno.

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