Tabulatura (Volume 1)
Emiliano Romanelli was a co-founder and member of the multimedia duo Tu m’, drawing on his background in the visual arts. These days he makes sound installations, live performances, and compositions based on generative systems and the perceptual relationships between sound and space. The release of his work in volumes, and the regular, numbered titles of his tracks (e.g. ‘Pattern #25’, ‘000148 of 110889’), imply open generative processes that could be continued indefinitely, as if each album was simply a set of snapshots of a constantly changing system. His new release “Tabulatura (Volume 1)” comprises seven such snapshots of an indeterminate composition for e-bowed acoustic guitar and computer processing, recorded live in Città Sant’Angelo, Italy in 2015.
The pieces appear simple on the surface, but listen closely and there’s a wealth of subtle beauty to be heard: pulsating patterns and low rumble; gently surging and receding dynamics; densely woven tones and wide open spaces. They have structure in the way that diamonds have structure: they are singular objects, time collapsed into a single moment. Each piece folds back under and over itself, a dragon eating its own tail. The music is quite quiet and subdued, even at its most open and radiant (“Pattern #49”), allowing listeners to scrutinise every detail, or just bask in its glow; it doesn’t draw undue attention to itself or prescribe a certain mode of listening. Sometimes a track consists of just a single undulating wave.
There’s little here that hasn’t been heard in some form before, but the beautiful craftsmanship of these seven pieces — and the way they are structured, so simply and elegantly, so as to allow that craftsmanship to shine — makes “Tabulatura” a joy to listen to.