Music Reviews

Artist: Alessandra Eramo
Title: Tracing South
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Corvo Records
On “Tracing South”, Berlin-based sound artist Alessendra Eramo focuses very heavily on experiments with her own voice, in a theatrical and not over-processed manner that harks back several decades. Eramo repeats words and phrases, overlapping, looping, and counterpointing both linguistic and a-lingual vocal noises, often as the sole instrument. Around this work is a fairly light smattering of more modern-sounding electronic elements to add occasional extra textures- found sounds, and on rare occasions theremin and harmonica (all played by Eramo herself).

It all works best when it is either at its most playful, tinkering with sonic ideas, or most simple. “Really Very Gut!”, with its over-effusive repetition of the ‘really very’, is bordering on childish, but very likeable, while the more electronics-heavy “My Favourite A Train” is probably both the most accomplished and most unusual piece here, while final piece “When I Look Into Your Eyes” is a purist singer’s showcase.

When it ‘goes serious’ then it is perhaps more of a mixed bag. The juxtaposition of curt grunts with longer vocal drones on “Vacio” is very nicely executed, while the pure vocal performance at the root of “Primitive Bird” is both beautiful and impressive. However at times, such as on “I Cannot Neglect The Sea”, there’s a certain amount of self-indulgence to the introspection, which doesn’t seem to sit as well as it might.

“Song For The Sun (Carnival Rites)” takes a totally different tack, blending together recordings of carnival music and celebration that devolve weirdly into radio white noise for a middle-of-the-album track that sounds like it’s been lifted from a totally different work, but which is intriguing in its own right.

An applaudable collection of pieces from a very strong experimental vocalist.

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