Published Jun 30, 2014Argentinean composer/muli-instrumentalist Ulises Conti takes a interrogative approach to creating this 27-track "alphabet" album (2 Ns: n and ñ), The Greeks Believed That The Stars Were Small Holes Where The Gods Listened To Men. The pieces range from 30 seconds to four minutes, and most seem without resolution. They leave you asking "What are these getting at?"
This is part of Conti's crafty artistry, as the pieces leave the listener questioning the musical process and goal. Track "A" is a gorgeous 52-second choir piece that just stops; "B" is strangely displaced guitar and piano arpeggiated motifs that are oddly echoed (Conti's painstaking attention to various processing effects shows up everywhere, adding to the what's-going-on-here feel). "R" is a melancholy melody with clear classical piano ancestry: simple and direct. At a scant 90 seconds, it still has emotional weight, with a gritty sound and a truncated ending. On the other hand, at nearly four minutes, "S" swims in watery reverb, processed to the point of subtle distortion. The melodic figure, reminiscent of Brian Eno's ambient work, repeats again and again, drifting, interrupted by abrupt cuts to a different processed sonority, like shifts of perspective in a dream.
"V" features fragmented figures that go nowhere, the piano sounding like it's being filtered through crunchy snow. Peculiarly ear-catching, a rubbery, insistent pattern of compacted instrumental sources in "X" churns along with an occasional intrusions of guitarish wails. Why does the album work? It's a mystery. (Flau)