The fact that the bell tone heard intermittently throughout "The Broken Glass v1," the opening piece on Mia Zabelka & Asférico's fine new album, will make you anxious about unanswered texts piling up on your iPhone is more of a commentary on our mobile-obsessed lives than it is on the work itself.
That said, there are more than a few moments on The Broken Glass that will make you anxious — none of which have anything to do with your digital correspondence. This forceful, often mesmerizing three-track LP is the product of Austrian boundary-pushing violinist Zabelka and Spanish DJ/producer Asférico (Alex Gámez).
Zabelka carries the aforementioned first piece with a firm grip. Her playing is detailed and unnerving — no wonder the great American avant-gardist Pauline Oliveros called her the "mighty mistress of the contemporary violin." The most accessible of the three works is "The Broken Glass v2." Asférico contributes an EDM-like synth line that qualifies this as a brave addition to any DJ crate. Zabelka is very much in the background here.
The disc's major work, though, is "Sonidos del Subconsciente II." The first thing that must be said is that it features the slowest build since John Cage's famed "4'33"." Talk about anxiety-inducing. Almost a minute into the piece, you'll be checking your battery level to find out why you haven't heard anything yet. That's followed by another couple of minutes of low-level white noise, like an air conditioner running in the condo next door.
To be fair, that prolonged intro represents less than a tenth of the full piece. And while there is a second break later that stretches just a bit too long, these sounds of the subconscious (an English translation of the title) will reward your patience. The piece is sparse, dark and more than a little evocative. (Störung)