Elio Martusciello
Unoccupied Areas


Though I'm quite familiar with the recorded work of "improvising group" Ossatura, of which Martusciello is a member (check their two CDs released on ReR), this is the first time I've listened to Elio Martusciello as a solo artist, and I'm quite glad I can say that Unoccupied Areas was for me a very pleasant surprise. The five electroacoustic compositions featured here are so clearly thought-out (and so assuredly performed) as to make this CD required listening for... well, almost anybody - provided, that is, that their concept of what "music" is entails the notion of "organised sound".

The five tracks are quite varied (their source being listed on the CD booklet), but all share an attitude that could maybe be defined as working on a wide canvas with just the right amount of elements - just check what can be achieved by using only the "almost white noise" with panning that appears at about 3' 15" on Ibidem. I assume Martusciello's influences will be apparent to those familiar with the history of this particular language - as an obvious example, check Hommage A Pierre Schaeffer - Etude Aux Chemins De Fer, the track that closes the album. But I also seemed to detect a pinch of Frank Zappa circa Lumpy Gravy, especially on the tracks Dispositivo Di Superficie and Ibidem (and let's not forget the subtle use of humour that one can find on some of the tracks).

Clear developments, creative use of timbres, a very good ear for rhythm... All tracks have quite a lot to offer. The first track was the one I liked the least, but here I have to confess I have a problem with vocal sounds used as source material. The track changes and develops a whole lot, however, eventually getting to a point that's impossible to foresee. The same is also true of Proiezioni, which uses mostly sounds of projectors and the like as raw materials (I hope I'm not being too anthropomorphic if I say that the sound that appears at the end of the track - an empty spool? - to me sounded like applause). And most of the time the music has no problem in transcending the most easily recognizable materials (is it really Lux Aeterna at about 3' 35" on Dispositivo Di Superficie?).

In closing, I'd like to add that Unoccupied Areas could easily work as an antidote against a lot of stuff that nowadays poses as "modern electronic music".

Beppe Colli

© Beppe Colli 2005

CloudsandClocks.net | April 12, 2005