English & Sciajno – Merola Shoulders – CD – PhonoStatique

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www.phonostatiquerecords.com 

 A fruitful collaboration of forces, this latest offering from PhonoStatique fuses the abstract sonic sensibilities of Australian label master, Lawrence English (Room 40), and Italian Domenico Sciajno. Recorded in 2005, Merola Shoulders is a dark fabric of interleaved sounds, densely woven, and intricately scored, it resists any convenient tag or categorisation. Too busy for ambience, and too prickly for those remaining isolationists, this collection bubbles and quakes, in the main balancing needle -sharp effervescent central themes over a solid wall of muscular, low register tones, that rise and fall like tidal waves. This is a synthetic, thickly textured series of works that shifts in and out of focus, skewing perspectives, the scenery constantly changing from intense, cerebral pieces like the opening track, Falling Away from the Surface, to the serene, almost pastoral, A Frank Discussion of Ruins..with its liquid, viscous heart beating around a flickering sinuous core.

The album closes with the harsh, angular electronics of Moments Before You Go..with its stuttering, abrasive centre, and winding tonal threads..under headphones, this is an epic, swirling mass of translucent layers, that subtly pan around the audio spectrum, then fizz and dissipate, leaving a scattering of digital particles..eerie half silences that are peppered with glitchy and twitchy electronic dust..like a dead phone line, or the last, flickering remnants of a lost TV station. In the hands of two fine composers, like English and Scianjo, it is powerful stuff.

This is not easy listening by any means, but given the status of both composers, is worthy of devoting time and energy to..this collection interlocks at an intensely cerebral level , and I liken it to engaging with a Rothko painting for the first time – intelligently crafted, and deeply fascinating..it comes with my highest recommendation. BGN

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WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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