AMN Reviews: Michael Larocca – Connecticut [Guardrail Recordings GRR001]

If the well-known Zen koan asked, What is the sound of one hand clapping?, with his album Connecticut Michael Larocca seems to ask, What is the sound of one state? Unlike the koan, Larocca provides an answer.

Larocca is a drummer, percussionist and electronics artist based in Connecticut. As an acoustic improviser he is a subtle colorist; here he creates musique concrete that mostly seems to be rooted in field recordings of various types—presumably taken in Connecticut–and some recordings of his drum work. In the Basement has the feel of a documentary recording full of room noise, footsteps and the sounds of various things being picked up, rattled and rubbed at random. A piece dedicated to James Ferraro features a looped and processed seagull-like sound along with the sounds of congas and/or bongos. The waterfall behind Waterfall Interrogation’s processed sounds of flowing water could be a waterfall, a local brook, or just water falling from a kitchen faucet. (In an interesting bit of synchronicity, an early musique concrete work by Gerry Hemingway, a Connecticut native, was created around a field recording of a New Haven-area brook.) The most conventionally musical work among the album’s five tracks is the piece dedicated to the technologist and electronic composer Laurie Spiegel. There, Larocca layers a rich electronic wash over the sounds of water bubbling and crickets chirping.

Daniel Barbiero