luciano maggiore - enrico malatesta talladura cover

Following on from “Talabalacco”, their fine collaborative record on Consumer Waste, Italian musicians Luciano Maggiore and Enrico Malatesta release the similarly onomatopoeic “Talladura” on their new imprint Triscele Registrazioni. The new album continues the pair’s subtle rhythmically-driven experiments; curiously, “Talladura” is presented as a collection of 14 short tracks, while “Talabalacco” has just one long track, even though both releases consist of a number of discrete constructions or tableau. Another difference, to me at least, is that the sound sources heard on “Talladura” seem more recognisable or familiar than those of “Talabalacco”, and this leads to a couple of distinctive effects.

The first effect is that the familiarity of these sounds seems to bring nearer the objects used to produce them, be they crockery or ping pong balls or gas hob ignition switches or so on. Quietness, sparseness, and repetition also help to underscore the materiality, the domesticity, of these objects. It is as if the pair seek to bring out the rhythms in everyday things, be they somehow innate to the thing or emergent from the manner in which they are presented to us. This is an illusion, as careful editing and the mediation of sounds through the use of different speakers and playback devices are key to Maggiore and Malatesta’s approach. But the sense of the presentness of objects is stronger on “Talladura” than it is on “Talabalacco”.

As well as a greater material weight, a more pronounced sense of performance also distinguishes the self-released record from its predecessor. Because I can recognise, or think I recognise, the bouncing of a ping pong ball, or the drawing of an object across a kitchen worktop, I can therefore more easily imagine a hand bouncing the ball, or moving the object. Both object and performer seem more present on “Talladura”. This may all be smoke and mirrors, or the unintended consequence of arbitrary track selection, but where “Talabalacco” tends towards the abstract concept in its presentation of rhythm, “Talladura” instead seems to put greater emphasis on the concrete conditions that constitute rhythm as a situation: the material presence of object and performer, and the interactions and co-incidences that both constitute and transform them. The pleasures of listening and of thinking (which, it could be argued, are really often the same pleasure) come in different flavours in each case.

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