Recorded in fall 2001 and winter 2002, Cage of Sand presents pieces for violin and real-time electronics -- in the short liner notes' words. From what it sounds like, the violin must have been fed to a computer running Max/MSP software. All the material stems from Carlos Zingaro's instrument. In general, the electronics enhance it without replacing it. It means that the performer's playing is audible and usually remains center stage. Zingaro has been rafting these waters for a while, but recent technological advances have allowed him to find a much more satisfying way to integrate electronics into his playing. Real-time sound treatment feels so natural and interactive when compared to the crude MIDI-triggered sound synthesis of the late '80s. The violinist's playing is fluid, varied, and creative. The treatments embellish, expand the power of atmospheres, challenge the player with mirror images of himself, and reveal hidden corners of the instrument by drawing listeners closer to some details. Do not be lured by programmatic titles like "Representations of Beasts" and "Radio Insects"; they poorly translate the music lying underneath them. Zingaro has struck a fine balance between acoustic and electronic music and noise. It can feel a little dry at times ("Sedimentary Deposit of Suffering" fails to lift and its looped finale betrays a momentary lack of imagination), but it offers a lot of fascinating music.
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