Music Reviews

Artist: Fabio Selvafiorita & Valerio Tricoli
Title: Death By Water
Format: CD
Label: Die Schachtel (@)
Distributor: CD Universe
Rated: *****
'Death by Water' is a 41 minute long four-hand musique concrète piece by Italian composers Fabio Selvafiorita and Valerio Tricoli, conceived and realized between Milan and the Giudecca Island, in Venice. 'Death by Water' is inspired by the fourth movement of T. S. Eliot's poem 'The Waste Land'. I'm not really into T.S. Eliot's writings (yes, I've read the 1922 poem) so I can only give you my impressions as it relates to my ears.

The music is largely composed of field recordings and reel to reel tape manipulations. This is a very curious and unusual work, at times sounding minimally ambient, at others typically musique concrète, and at other times chaotic noise. The water theme is often present with liquidy and surf sounds that ebb and flow. I would have to say this work is much more active than passive, certainly not anything you might consider meditative, but nonetheless interesting. At times there is an undeniable sonic intensity that might test your patience. For me, it was more of an intellectual than emotional music experience but you may not feel that way; these abstract recordings tend to affect listeners differently. In relation to the T.S. Eliot poem, the piece is supposed to evoke a theme of renewal and regeneration, but I found that rather amorphous.

I really do like the cover art by Dinamo Milano, which was what drew me to bump up this CD on the review roster of the incredible backlog of CDs I have to review. What sort of perplexed me was the lack of info on the artists and their websites. I'm not sure if Vimeo is even their regular website, or if they even have one, so an email address for the artists just doesn't seem available. The Die Schachtel label is another matter, being very well known in Europe, and the distribution and net exposure the CD has is widespread. (Google the names of the artists and the CD, and you'll find them all over the place.) It seems like you can get the CD just about anywhere if you want it, so I just picked CD Universe at random from the many that have it. As for 'Death By Water' I'm sort of ambivalent; conceptionally compositionally it is a worthy, thoughtful project, but I don't think I'll find myself listening to it very much.

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