Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Eardrum buzz: Lea Bertucci


WHO: Lea Bertucci
WHAT: Axis/Atlas
WHEN: Wednesday, April 27, 8 p.m.
WHERE: School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 The Fenway, Boston
HOW: Non-Event

Axis/Atlas by Lea Bertucci

I caught wind of composer/sound artist Lea Bertucci first when she was roughly half of TwistyCat, an improv combo that played lots around New York's artier fringes. I say roughly half, because in addition to Bertucci on bass clarinet and Ed Bear (formerly of Talibam!) on baritone saxophone, TwistyCat frequently incorporated a heavy visual component. I never caught the group while it was active, but there's some mighty fine live 2009 audio from WFMU here, and a trippy E.S.P. TV live video from 2011 here. (Bertucci still performs with Bear; the two are set to play Ende Tymes VI in Brooklyn on June 4.)

Resonance Shapes, Bertucci's first solo LP, appeared in 2013 on Obsolete Units, and provides a remarkable glimpse into an active, exciting imagination with its mix of bass clarinet, bowed vibraphone, percussion, and field recordings. It's rough and mysterious and deeply absorbing, and amazingly you can still own one of only 300 copies on Coke-bottle clear vinyl via Bandcamp. Also available: Light Silence, Dark Speech, a 33rpm 7-inch record of disembodied yet visceral alto-saxophone soliloquies on Swedish label Il Dische del Barone (200 copies; details here), and L'Onde Souterraine, a haunting album of electronically othered bass clarinet-and-cello duets recorded with Leila Bordreuil, issued by Telegraph Harp.

Axis/Atlas, new on cassette tape from Clandestine Compositions, is different than everything that came before it: a set of three gorgeously busy tape-collage assemblages in which to become lost. "In my compositions for tape, juxtapositions of environmental sources and manipulated instruments/objects form an ominous sound-world, where states of alienation, ambiguity and transcendence are examined," Bertucci wrote in a concise essay for The Out Door.

You should read the rest of what she wrote, and also what Marc Masters wrote about the tape; more importantly, you should make time to hear the music. And if you're in Boston on Wednesday night, you can catch sets by Bertucci and Forbes Graham in the SMFA Drawing Room, presented by the ever-invaluable Non-Event.

Original Content: Eardrum buzz: Lea Bertucci

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