AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Castor Morse – Au bureau des rêveries [Plus Timbre PT143]; Boss / Magliocchi – Schnellissimo [Plus Timbre PT140]

The name of sound artist Castor Morse’s studio is La Poétique du Timbre—a perfectly chosen name, as his new release, the evocatively titled Au bureau des rêveries demonstrates. Working with objects, prepared gongs, samples, and electronic processing, Castor Morse put together a series of six sound collages based on the sheer sensuality of timbral contrasts, many of them produced by the sounds of various materials being struck, rubbed, scraped, and shaken. The compositions, which generally rely on unpitched sounds and gestural organization, tend toward the abstract, but the occasional appearances of flute, the human voice, and birdsong add a touch of the organic.

Like Castor Morse’s release, Schnellisimo, a duo recording by Swiss violinist Matthias Boss and Italian percussionist Marcello Magliocchi, situates itself within the fertile field opened up by timbral difference. Strings and percussion tend to occupy opposite poles of the textural spectrum; Boss and Magliocchi take this opposition as a given and a goad, and build on it with a set of improvisations that develop through elaborately prepared and resolved events of tension and release. Magliocchi’s cymbal work and freely metered pulses push and pull the collective sound through dynamic surges and ebbs, which Boss further shapes and intensifies with an expressionistically taut mixing of legato and staccato phrasing, and raw, extended technique.

Daniel Barbiero