AMN Reviews: Amirtha Kidambi & Matteo Liberatore – Neutral Love (2021; Astral Editions)

This is a curious album, the first duo between experimentalists Kidambi (vocals) and Liberatore (guitar). Together, they create a sparse yet intense set of aural landscapes that are minimal musically while still packing in quite an emotional range.

Kidambi eschews singing for drones, mouth and throat noises, and plaintive tones, unbending in her lack of orthodoxy. Liberatore provides his own drones as well as long-held notes and dissonant chords on an undistorted electric guitar. While only voice and guitar are credited, a certain amount of processing may be present as well.

Each of the four pieces is approximately 8 minutes in length and captures a slightly different set of textures and colors, all moving at a geological pace. As an example, Bells features Liberatore creating interference patterns between pairs of notes while Kidambi uses her deeper register to provide slowly shifting tones somewhere between hums and chants.

Neutral Love is a suitable album for the last year of hardship, loss, and isolation. It is ruminative, melancholy, and unabashedly experimental. This debut will be released May 7th on Astral Editions, an Astral Spirits sub-label.

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