Followers of Soundscape or Cut And Run will know that Senufo Editions receives a fair amount of attention here, and I would argue not unduly. While released earlier this year, this album by Luciano Maggiore in particular seems to have unfortunately fallen through the cracks.
Comprised largely of analogue synthesis, it begins rather minimally; with panning high pitched clicks, followed on the second piece by rhythmic sliding saw-waves. Given that this is Maggiore’s first solo release and is described as a study on panning and phasing, the listener may be somewhat worried at this point that the album will exist only as a sort of demonstrative construct (Alessandro Brivio’s work on the label occasionally flirts with just that).
However, even by the third track, the complexity subtly increases with some tonal fragment synthesis, a surging shelf of clicks and an underlying bass rumble. The bass tone’s lurching frequency shifts (like the muted sounds of a car engine attempting to turnover again and again) give the piece a sort of Sisyphean motion – constantly pushed higher and faster, only to fall back again to inaudibility.
The fifth and seventh tracks are some of the few, at least to my ears, that use audio sources beyond just the synthesizer. Though treated in a similar fashion, the evidence of incidental sounds and the tiniest bit of reverb come as something of a relief from the acute, almost Pointillist approach of much of the album. They are actually rather pretty. The exponential changes in pitch and beat of the synthesized tones is reminiscent of the feedback from a well-disciplined no-input mixing board set and is not far removed from the work of Marcus Schmickler, or even Autechre in their generative heyday, albeit of an altogether different dynamic range.
I recommend that Intersezioni first be listened to on some decent headphones – a room with even mild or moderate reflection will produce some obvious playback artifacts. That said, this is exactly the kind of work that is most interesting to hear in a variety of settings, as such isolated and repetitive sonic events lend themselves well to an exploration of space and speaker arrangement (like a reflection test paralleling Joe Colley’s pseudo-frequency tests on Desperate Attempts At Beauty).
This album does not disappoint, and for every daze-inducing panning experiment, there follows an remarkably subtle mix of tones, beat frequencies and timbres. Considering the sound sources, the material sounds remarkably human – there is something about the composition that belies the touch of a human hand. Highly recommended work that is available directly from Senufo, or through Experimedia and Winds Measure Recordings in North America.