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Artist: Giuseppe Ielasi

Album: Giuseppe Ielasi

Label: Hapna

Review date: Aug. 3, 2006


The domineering trait of Giuseppe Ielasiís new self-titled record for Hapna is beauty. It obfuscates process, method and make up. The Italian's mannerisms have certainly changed since the guitar-essence minimalism of Gesine, but these new pieces have no seams or stains, or titles for that matter - nothing to draw attention to its designs or details. These may be time-honored tactics for directing focus on the sound itself, but they seldom work so well.

The first track, and the strongest, begins with slightly off-pitch bowed strings and muffled fuzz. The strings might be violin, or they might be something else, and the feedback behind them muffles whether they were played live or sampled. Other sounds in the background seem like field recordings of animals and typewriters, but they could also have been synthesized de novo, in the studio. These lines become filler, and Ielasi lays over them keyed sounds panned into the left and right speakers; then a melodic horn line weaves in and dominates the rest of the track. The horns seem disconnected from real-world referents, their aged tone like modern paper burnt around the edges in imitation of a relic. The tape crackle is too perfect, celestial and superimposed.

These are rich, structured pieces. Ielasi incorporates a lot of rough sounds, like feedback and tape hiss, that spackle the gaps and holes that result from his interweaving of instrumental lines. Later tracks build minimal beats out of the reverberations of plucked bass (both guitar and upright) that are filled in with watery bubbles and glitch histrionics.

Ielasi presents complex works that elude the listenerís tendency toward deconstruction, so one experiences them as consummate creations rather than compositions. Closed systems, internally true, they could only have been created by a single person, alone in a room.

By Josie Clowney

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Gesine

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