ALBUM REVIEWS
ANDREW C. KIDD

Jacek Doroszenko ft. Ewa Doroszenko ‘Bodyfulness’
(Audiobulb) 25th June 2022

It is May. I am penning this review when my tissue tethers to the touchscreen. My hands pixelate to dissipate into my keyboard. I centrifuge away on algorithms and platforms. My consciousness becomes collective. My flesh is cast aside. I am husked hollow and left as a digitalised hide. It is here in this virtual space that I encounter Bodyfulness.

I am met by art: first, a lenticular and lipless fleshy lower face; then, a predominance of pink and bluish blushes and hazy ribbon-like photographs pushed into position. There are prints of arms. I see hands handling hands. Are these the same hands that play the fluted-key flourishes on Landscape of Algorithmic Desire? They are husky and light. Ghostly background clicks are fleeting and apparition-like. They reappear as the gentle euphoria that blends into the pulsing syncopation of Generated Pleasures. Sub-bass melodies emerge, merge and exit reimagined. It is this symbiosis of the analogue and sounds from the natural world on Bodyfulness that fills me. Composed as a critique of digital intimacy, it is a distorting melange of imagery and music. At times there is opposition. For example, the opaque drones on the title track and depths of analogue on Night Masque contrast starkly with the clarity of the field recordings of water on The Molecule of Everyday Life. The album finale – Visible Dream Space – is dissonant. A slightly off-key synth sequence brims away into nothingness. It disconnects me from the melodia and fusion of what preceded it.

The Dorozenkos’ triumph though is their mid-album triptych. A dreamlike nostalgia weeps and stoops over the sun-kiss and splash of past summers on Get The Perfect Mental Surface. Bells are part-sung atop heavy production and dart around a Rhodes piano and subtle bass melody on Synthetic Skin. This complex symphony weaves and weaves some more until it is shocked into life by two clear bells. Oh these bells! How they sing! I could write poetry about them. They pitch high and are kept momentarily afloat by the fleeting breath of a string section that twists away into the earthy distance. Synthetic Nap is the entr’acte: analogue synths hum and thrum and bass and turn and twist and heighten and heighten higher to steeple and quieten and quieten further to silence to further silence and still.

Flavia Massimo ‘Glitch’
(Audiobulb) 8th June 2022

Classico-electonica is an atoll where music is bountiful. The ringed-islets and sandy spaces have surfaced as the result of the volcanism of the modernists and post-romanticists. A deep lagoon saucers in the centre. The turquoise-blue water quavers and trebles endlessly. Time is not continuous here. Varèse and Stockhausen had once inhabited the islets and moved on to become coral. This is the post-world of Moondog and Pierre Henry. This is the precursor to an unknowable futurism. This is the present day space where Frahm and Richter key quietly in the twilight. The reedy bass of Stetson offsets the lilting harp strings of Lattimore. The warmth of the cello-bowing of Coates radiates like the sun. Along the shorelines and sands, the horizon is momentarily interrupted by a dot that hazes gently in the distance. The dot blots and slowly comes into focus. This is Flavia Massimo. She is rowing across the calm sea. She will shortly arrive on the beach to play Glitch.

There is an innate delicateness to Massimo’s sound. Gentle gongs reverberate and pace-make on ‘Gagaku’. They bob like buoys in open water. She hits, strings and bows in triadic equipoise. The result is meditative. Here, Massimo beautifully blends these ritualistic traditions (Gagaku is an ancient form of Japanese court music) with the opposing turbulence (at points she channels the lightspeed of L. Shankar) and broad-stroke soundscaped minimalism that are idiosyncratic to modern ambienism. She approaches the beach.

‘Steps’ is balladic. The notes disembark and tip-toe around a pas de deux interplay of slapped pizzicato. This motif steadily repeats around the brooding narrative of tremolo and white noise and analog effects. It beguiles.

‘Data Transfer’ opens as a thrashing melee. Alive and anatomical, the piece builds into a pulsing polyphony. The vocals inhale and exhale. The held chords are choral. The 4-4 beat is plainsong steady. The élan vital here is Massimo’s mastering of the interstitium, i.e., the spaces between the tissue planes that she slowly electrifies and neon-ifies. She lets her attack-mode-driven pulses laser and spark. She stands steady with cutters and feeds wires into her classical instrumentation.

‘Oxygen’ is a journey of aerobic respiration. The oxygen enters our bodies through the measured adagio. The sforzando is the lifeblood: rubrous, iron-clad, heavy. Her legato bowing echoes the held synths of Vangelis. The beat is opaque. Through its structural complexities, and eventual degradation, we witness the metamorphosis of oxygen. We are left with energy, and water.

I envisage quiet rainfall on ‘Bit Pass’. The leggiero sings. High-pitched static are droplets on my window. The subtle percussive pops puddle on the periphery. The piece is endless, like precipitation. It is symphonic. It is beautiful. If Glitch was a symphony, this would be its adagietto. It simply glistens.

‘Chromosome Xx’ marks a departure from the organic. The machinations and collé bowing are rhythmically complex and the plucked-strings halo circumferentially in slow-motion to disintegrate into noisecore distance. The ending is subtle. It warps into quietude, like Tchaikovsky’s Sixth.

This is undoubtedly a strong debut from Massimo. She has set up camp on the atoll where her sound pools quietly in the lagoon. She offers us abstract minimalism. There is an off-set asymmetry to her sound. The tone is elegiac. She channels classicism but in measured doses. She appears to find joy in the uncertainty. To her, form appears unnecessary. Like the wavelets that milled through her cogwheeling oars in open water, she is strongest in the existential spaces that float around us.

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