AMN Reviews: Andrea Massaria & Clementine Gasser – The Spring of My Life [Amirani AMRN053]

Haiku have long elicited fascination on the part of Western poets and other artists who’ve been taken with their allusiveness and conciseness. How well their subtleties of form and content have been understood outside of Japan is a matter of controversy, but in some respects this doesn’t matter, at least to the extent that they’ve inspired independent works of art. With The Spring of My Life Andrea Massaria and Clementine Gasser literally translated a set of haiku into musical performances that are uniquely their own.

The two bring similar backgrounds to the music. Massaria, here on guitar, electronics and effects, is active in Trieste and Venice; he studied classical guitar before moving into jazz, improvisation, and other experimental fields. Gasser, from Switzerland, also studied classical music and jazz. Together, their playing shows an adventurousness tempered by a sense of structure.

For this set of pieces Massaria and Gasser took a series of haiku by the classic poet Kobayashi Issa and crafted mixed graphic/verbal scores around them. Like the three-line, seventeen-syllable poems, the individual pieces on The Spring of My Life are succinct—the shortest is under two minutes and longest is a still economical six and three-quarters minutes long. Also like haiku, these pieces work through suggestion and indirection. Each is an atmospheric vignette focusing on the interaction of space and color. Massaria and Gasser never crowd each other, but instead leave open spaces for each voice to develop unhurriedly. There are piano-like cascades over stabs of cello, uncluttered lines finely weaving in and around each other. Massaria in particular brings a wide palette of colors to his playing, suggesting at various times the sounds of the harp, organ, steel drums, and more. As this stubborn winter gives way to spring, The Spring of My Life makes for a reinvigorating soundtrack.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Picks of the Week: Dane Rousay / The Star Pillow / Steve Adams & Tim Perkis / Automatas Sonoros / Cosgrove, Robinson, & Filano

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Dane Rousay – IMP / ENV (2018)
The Star Pillow – Symphony for Intergalactic Brotherhood (2018)
Steve Adams / Tim Perkis – A Few Eccentricities (2018)
Various Artists – Automatas Sonoros (2018)
Jeff Cosgrove / Scott Robinson / Ken Filano – Hunters & Scavengers (2018)

March Parma Releases

Source: Parma Recordings.

Magnar Åm

Andreas Barth, Geir Hjorthol and Magnar Åm take the concept of “industrial music” to a whole new level. Taking place in an abandoned Norwegian factory, “The Propeller Hall,” the artists utilized everything from the acoustics in the building to the muffled sounds of traffic outside its walls.

Chris Cresswell
Cresswell’s 315 Ensemble is dedicated to exploring possibilities in electroacoustic music as well as commissioning works from outstanding composers worldwide. This debut album premieres–exclusively–two compositions by Cresswell himself.

5049 Records Podcast Episode 150 – Theo Bleckmann 

English: Theo Bleckmann, moers festival 2008

Source: 5049 Records.

Theo Bleckmann is a vocalist and composer of startling virtuosity and clarity. In his twenty five year long career he has worked with everyone from Laurie Anderson to Uri Caine, Philip Glass to Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck to Sheila Jordan. He leads several projects and most recently presented Schubert’s song cycle “Die Winterreise” on an ice rink, with skaters from the Ice Theatre of New York. Theo is a wildly creative individual and a complete joy to spend an afternoon with.