Imagine an orchestral and oriental Efterklang reworking “Selected Ambient Works” by Aphex Twin – you now have the framework to disseminate “The Gardens Of Bomarzo” by Clorinde. The concept is not a beardy one: statues from the Italian Renaissance garden, various gods and goddess creatures from early mankind become inspiration in a double CD release where “permissible atrophy” – my term for criticism being ideologically permeable of the past – take heed of instrumental manipulations of the present.
The first point to mark any “permissible atrophy” – where sound ingrains itself as useless – from me is the production quality. Seriously, when has music sounded so well rounded, warm and clean? This bodes well for the interpretation of structures that exchange their turf in regards to the instruments used to work on the record. “The Nymph” halfway in to disc II resonates as a sustained exploring of both what has sustenance and what has dissonance with fusion. While “Pegasus”, tune two on disc I, is rollickingly austere, a rousing dragon’s bellow of a bassline with smart apertures in the drums.
“The Tortoise And The Whale” on disc two invites the saxophone and violin to commingle a to-do list, nailed to wall pressure affair in respects of mood and confluence. The effects on “permissible atrophy” turn the listener’s perceptions reverse-ways – to immense appreciation rather than pernickety over-analysis of the weird. All instruments: organ, guitar, saxophone, violin, drums, kalimba, clarinet, glockenspiel, mandolin, accordion, mbira, harmonium, bowed zither, banjo, ukelele – the list is endless – renders the compositions sharply poignant, and all instead of being an extraneous mess. This only adds to the commendability of Clorinde.
Clorinde is the brother duo of Andreas and Simone Salvatici, multi-instrumentalists who are said to “do an extensive use of acoustic instruments taken from Western and non-Western Folk traditions, extrapolated from their original conventional tunings and use and electrified with transducer contact microphones so that they can be processed into electronic devices and amplification”. Importantly with “The Gardens Of Bomarzo”, they have won me over to explore their previous various tunings – both environmental and tonal – and essentially put, “The Gardens Of” is a landmark release in terms of conceptual deification of a place that turns into something sonically extraordinary.