Musica Elettronica Viva

Leave the City

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This album finds the Paris faction of MEV, a group that began in Italy, pared down to a trio of Ivan and Patricia Coaquette and Brigit Knabe on two side-long tracks. Leave the City is far less noisy than the earlier Sound Pool, though still highly improvised and only slightly less undisciplined. "Message" begins with the sounds of the seashore -- ocean waves and seagulls -- before the group slowly adds percussion, electronics, flutes, and other noises. Droning sounds are plentiful throughout the piece, especially on the second half where instruments and voices create a massive sustained drone that has an almost mystical spiritual feel, while primitive percussion clanks in the background. On the other piece, "Cosmic Communion," Nona Howard and Stephano Giolitti join the trio for an even more fascinating track. It begins like an industrial noisescape, with gritty electronic pulses, beeps, scrapes, and white-noise growls, while mostly female voices shout -- at times even scream -- about destruction, power, and greed. After about 15 minutes of this stark, brutal noise, the piece shifts 180 degrees to gentle acoustic guitar, odd harmonious singing, and earthy vocal drones, with environmental sounds of crickets and birds in the background, and then listeners finally return to the seashore where the album began. The second part of "Cosmic Communion" is breathtakingly beautiful, especially in contrast to the stark industrial beginning, and is like nothing else that MEV, in any formation, has ever done.