AMN Reviews: Bertoni / Salis / Sanna – Hidden Parallels [Plus Timbre PT123]

The hidden parallels of this collaboration between Antonio Bertoni (cello, prepared piano, tuning forks) and the duo of percussionists Paolo Sanna and Giacomo Salis would appear to be drawn between the three compositions the trio chose to interpret and the original, unconventional ways in which their own contributions shaped the actual sounds of each realization.

For the first piece, chosen by Sanna and based on harpist Rhodri Davies’ Penrhiw, Bertoni, Salis and Sanna seem to have taken texture as their point of departure. Bertoni’s strummed and pizzicato cello, together with the various shaken and scraped percussion sounds from Sanna and Salis, present a free reimagining of some of the effects Davies’ extended playing extracts from the harp. The second composition interpreted is Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetry, selected by Salis and featuring Bertoni on prepared piano accompanied by tuned mallet percussion, gong, prepared snare drum and processed voice from Sanna and Salis. In contrast to Feldman’s predominantly understated dynamics, the audio space the three create here is filled with suspenseful, robust sounds. The third and final piece, Solo de Endingidi, Bertoni’s choice, was taken from a recording of Ugandan music. Bertoni’s rapidly bowed cello forms the backbone of the piece, which gets equally energetic support from snare and other percussion.

Listeners seeking literal interpretations of the source compositions won’t find them here, but to paraphrase the ancient dictum, sometimes a hidden harmony is best.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews: Giacomo Salis & Paolo Sanna – Humyth [Confront Collectors Series ccs 85]

The Sardinians Giacomo Salis and Paolo Sanna are only two, but together they constitute a sonically rich, if small, percussion ensemble—one not at all limited to striking membranes with sticks.

For Salis and Sanna, much of the surrounding world—with its objects and actions, its spaces and latent sounds—is reflected in the world of percussion. They describe their work as research into the interlocking worlds of gesture, movement and listening, which they interpret through the use of natural materials as well as conventional percussion instruments. As this release shows, Salis and Sanna situate their work within a continuum with silence and noise at either end, and gradations of musical sounds in between. Their sound has its foundation in the modern classical tradition, with its emphasis on timbre and extended technique; thus the five untitled tracks set out a record of the broad universe of things that can be done with drumheads, semi-tuned metal and other materials: striking, rubbing, scraping, shaking, and more. Sometimes Salis and Sanna beat out regular rhythms on the things available at hand, and other times they suspend pulse in order to use drums as natural amplifiers for the objects that bounce, rub and skitter over them.

Daniel Barbiero