Daniel Barbiero – Cristiano Bocci: Nostos


Acustronica CD and download 

Gutsy double bass and electronics from Barbiero and Bocci, with the latter’s electronic processing and effects applied to the former’s home recordings. The result is surprisingly physical sounding, despite the layers of electronic gubbins applied, and it retains a melodic edge too, with Barbiero’s arco flourishes poking through Bocci’s Technicolor haze to give the album’s eight pieces a naturalistic ebb and flow.

Things start off positively baroque, with the bowed swoops of gli alberi, a gennaio sounding like plunderphonic steals from a charity shop Vivaldi find. In this, and on other tracks like bordeaux su nero sopra il grigio, Bocci doesn’t overdo the post production wrangles, confining himself to multi-tracking Barbiero’s fluid, elegant playing and adding minimalistic touches of reverb and sustain. The result is haunting and elegant, the bass surging and fading in overlapping cycles, Barbiero like some time travelling savant forming a bass quartet with his duplicate selves. And in the album’s closer, l’ultimo tren por follonica, the duo collate melancholic bass runs with field recordings and electronics – as well as Bocci’s own, high-register electric bass interventions – to produce a post-rock flavoured track that wouldn’t look out-of-place on a Godspeed! You Black Emperor album.

Other pieces allow Bocci a freer rein to mess things up. On the frankly amazing reintri casuali, he dices Barbiero’s bass glides into a shower of cosmic noise, Barbiero’s deep arco strokes transformed into jagged bass drones that cut across time and space, as shards of higher-register swipes flash in and out of existence. Electronic beeps and bloops, shrouded in reverb and almost infinite sustain, glow in the dark spaces between, like strange elemental particles at the dawn of the universe. It’s a shapeless, shimmering marvel, and the second take the duo includes later on in the running order is even more abstract and disorienting.

Meanwhile, on contrabass in marcia, the duo take a different approach, stepping away from the dissonance for a tauter, propulsive vibe. Barbiero adds extended techniques – rattling his bow across the strings, rapping the body of his instruments – to the album’s sonic vocabulary, and Bocci moulds those percussive elements into a woody, jerking groove, clockwork dubstep almost. There’s even a chilly breakdown halfway through, which will please any avant-rave listeners, before the rhythmic throb starts up again, the usual multi-tracked bass this time with added fuzz that cuts a flaming, righteous swathe through the track’s brooding heart.


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