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