Person In A Small Room
Eugene Carchesio’s hugely prolific creativity spans a number of artforms and genres. To many he is known for his small-scale watercolour paintings, usually executed in extensive series, and for the matchboxes he turns into exquisite, finely detailed artworks. As a musician he contributes to psych-blues/free jazz combo The Lost Domain and abstract improv-pop group The Deadnotes. Amid such a diverse range of activities, his solo music is often in danger of being overlooked — an error that the Room40 label is currently addressing via re-issues of classic releases from his solo discography.
“Concert For One Person In A Small Room” is one such re-issue, and in a similar vein to the recent “Circle Music” is comprised of a number of mostly short synthesiser pieces. Each piece is focused and to-the-point, often comprising a single musical idea, giving the impression of a set of permutations being worked through. The results are far from dry, however, bursting with an energy and vitality that is all the more direct for the formal simplicity with which they are presented. Rhythm is clearly the guiding concern of these synthesiser studies, as Carchesio reels off pattern after pattern of hypnotic, often downright funky beats. Sometimes his tones resemble splish-splashing droplets of water, sometimes the twittering of birds, yet for the most part they speak in a warm, phat analogue voice of their own, with effects restricted to the occasional reverb and delay. By limiting his timbres thus, Carchesio is able to focus all the more on problems of rhythmic structure; even melody is used simply as a way of modulating rhythm, as heard most clearly on “c18”’s downward-spiralling riff.
At times the studies drift close to manufacturer demo track territory, but in the end the ingenuity and invention of Carchesio’s rhythmic explorations proves compelling. Given that the tendency of much recent experimental music has been to downplay rhythm in favour of harmony and texture, the re-issue of this work could hardly be more timely: for musicians and listeners wondering how they can get their groove back, “Concert For One Person” is a concise and effective training manual.