Tetsuo Furudate

Autrement Qu'Être III: Othello

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This recording's full subtitle is "Othello, the Moore of Venice as Noise Opera," and features Tetsuo Furudate's trio Autrement Qu'Être (Furudate on noise guitar and samples, Sumihisa Arima on keyboards and samplers, Pneuma on electronics and percussion). The piece finds its origin in Act V, Scene II, of Shakespeare's Othello. The lines of the main character are interpreted by sound artist Leif Elggren. Desdemona's lines are left silent while the actor's voice is slowed down at will to emphasize the drama held in the words. This appears in the third movement, "A Bedchamber in His Castle." There are three more parts, two before and one after this core. In them, Furudate accumulates harsh noise, percussive electronic sounds (like synthesized orchestra cues), and odd samples ranging from clockwork to female screams and (in the last section) samples from actual orchestral music. The atmosphere remains bleak throughout, each sample or blow trying to emulate the turmoil in Othello's soul or represent the murder of his wife and the two characters' descent into Hell. It sounds like Merzbow meeting 1990s Art Zoyd (especially their Haxan/Faust period -- similar insistent military pulses and electronic textures). At times the music is gripping, as wave after wave of noise is hammered through your body, but in other places -- and especially in the "Overture" and the second half of "What Noise Is This?" -- things get ridiculously bombastic, even tedious. In any case, this is not music for the faint of heart: You must be willing to take some kind of punishment.