AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Ascanio Borga – Altered States (Sonic Boundaries)

Like listening to a painter attack the canvas while drinking absinthe in the other room, Altered States is a two-disc, ninety-minute collection of solo guitar vignettes by Ascanio Borga, his first on new label Sonic Boundaries. Track titles hang off the same, great chain of roiling, evolving being – “Magma”, “Acid Landscape”, “Harsh Ground”, “Raw Science Loops” – and Borga works quickly but methodically. Altered States is formalist in the sense that no heed is paid historic, political and cultural context, all attention instead focused on the materiality of the art.

Disc one was recorded one day in January 2010, disc two also a single day, one year and one month later. Dark green outside, vital-organ pink inside. Played and treated live, no additional fiddling or overdubbing, a dozen states of mind (even grace) passionately expressed. The cumulative effect is volcanic, droning, sputtering worlds being formed, others being pulverized down to cellular level, ancient in gut feel, ablating all other thoughts. You can´t help but concentrate. Raw indulgence, visceral gratification.

Stephen Fruitman