Metal Aether by Lea Bertucci; Bandcamp Link: Metal Aether
Ranked number 17 on wire magazine’s “Releases of the Year”.
I’ve listened to quite a few solo saxophone albums this year and it’s interesting what a diverse group they are. Almost all have gone in for some sort of extended technique, whether it is circular breathing or multiphonics or split tones.
Ms. Bertucci’s album, as is usual in these releases, isn’t strictly speaking solo, as she is manipulating the sounds with tape and also playing other samples or recordings of instruments to accompany herself or create atmosphere in which to perform.
She starts with a fairly typical arpeggio based song, “Patterns for Alto”. As is usual for this sort of music, it could be from a Philip Glass piece. One nice thing about Ms Bertucci’s arpeggio piece is that she leaves space in it rather than cramming it full of detail, then as it progresses, she allows echo or tape loops to build gradually behind her.
Other songs experiment with long drone, atmosphere, and near Industrial soundscapes.
It makes for an album that is continuously changing and morphing, once you think you understand where Ms Bertucci is coming from, she throws you a curve. I especially enjoy her pleasant use of dissonance and wonderful bird-like squeals.
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