Latest from Simon Balestrazzi is Redshift (AZOTH rebis 008), five tracks of solo/overdubbed work which he made at NeuroHabitat. The notes inform us in passing that he considered himself “in exile” at this time. We’ve always enjoyed the supernatural exploits of this Italian fellow, but on this occasion he has forsaken his usual dark drones and murmured, buried ghost-voices in favour of more formal experiments in modern music and sound art, with the emphasis on percussion. What starts out as rather stark and skeletal set full of rattles and clangs gradually grows more flesh on its bones, with added drones, singing, and more complex layers of vibrated objects and field recordings added to the mix.
He’s working in a very circumspect fashion, carefully noting all the components in the enclosed notes, and photographing the set-ups lest we doubt the accuracy of his reporting. The vibrated objects, for instance metal bars or pieces of plastic, are sometimes placed on top of the drums for extra resonant properties; the same goes for his voice, or at any rate it’s passed through an amplified membrane on track 03. My favourite piece is ‘Redshift 4’, also described as a ‘Quadrivium’, mainly because it’s about the most complex and eventful and the array of devices involved make it seem like things might be getting out of control. The last track ‘Blueshift’ is a stately drone produced by five loopers, which does come close to delivering a certain hypnotic effect (and the 15-minute duration helps on that account), yet it too has a clarity – almost a terrifying clarity – that is slightly at odds with his usual other-worldly murk and ectoplasmic qualities.
As to the title, I would hope he has in mind that famous Alan Garner book Red Shift, which is an extremely imaginative take on the time-travel idea, with added layers referring to the lines and tracks that traverse the ancient English landscape; themes which, I like to think, appeal to the mind of Simon Balestrazzi. From 24th January 2019.