Sedimental

Although currently based in Lisbon, Riccardo Dillon Wanke is a young artist from Italy (born in Genoa, resident in Milan from 1982 to 2005). A multi-instrumentalist – piano, sax and guitar – he started composing experimental music in 2000, collaborating with, amongst others, Giuseppe Ielasi, Stefano Pilia, David Maranha and Margarida Garcia. Caves is his second recording after Medves (Fringes), and its five tracks are (it says here) centered on exploring “binaural beats in musical composition”, which in practice is more like an out-and-out analysis (not excessively deep, perhaps) of the physical and emotional resonances generated by the juxtaposition of minimal elements. Wanke uses acoustic and electric guitars, saxophones and natural sounds, extrapolating a crumb of each source’s essence and offering it to the god of processing: a piece might start as a single-note repetition morphing into a Lucier-like juxtaposition of upper partials (“E”) or involve successions and superimpositions of looped materials (“Jest”). Despite the clarity of the design, it all functions sporadically at best, the reason being a too obvious simplicity of selected constituents, which the press release tries to sell as “folk sensitivity” but to my grizzled ears sound too snug and warm. The best moments here, on the other hand, call up that sense of quasi-disbelief we feel when confronting an unknown sonic feature that nonetheless seems strangely familiar – the splendid whooshing drone in “Old Man” is a fitting example. When music like this materializes from scarcely recognizable colours the CD becomes much more interesting. Though not a masterpiece by any means, Caves contains several intuitions that leave us waiting for future developments.

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