Caterina Barbieri

Ecstatic Computation

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Caterina Barbieri's fourth full-length is closer to the deep-space synth arpeggios of 2017's Patterns of Consciousness than the minimalist, cello-heavy drone pieces of 2018's Born Again in the Voltage, which was recorded earlier. Brilliantly titled Ecstatic Computation, the album is deeper, darker, and trippier than any of her previous releases. Monolithic ten-minute opener "Fantas" immediately overwhelms the listener's senses, building up springy, neon modular synth sequences and gradually making it feel like the entire world is crumbling, or all the stars are beginning to burst, one by one. It's fearsome and exciting and profoundly awe-inspiring all at once. "Closest Approach to Your Orbit" expands on the chaotic thrashing which ends "Fantas," beginning and ending with the feeling that reality is being ripped apart at the seams. "Arrows of Time" spotlights the angelic choral vocals of Annie GĂ„rlid and Evelyn Saylor, who weave around stark, steady harpsichord notes. "Pinnacles of You" begins with pin-prick melodies, resembling a sort of cosmic synth pop, before resonating into mist via an array of dazzling effects. Concluding piece "Bow of Perception" starts off with an attention-grabbing sequence of sharp, buzzing notes which vibrate into silence. The piece gradually becomes more pointillistic and expressive, eventually ending up at a rapid, slippery conclusion which feels a little bit like a smile cracking while coming down from an extended period of enlightenment. Intense, emotional, and often revelatory, Ecstatic Computation further establishes Barbieri as a truly visionary artist.

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