Mem1 + Stephen Vitiello: Age of Insects

The teeming Age of Insects... finds Mem1 with electronicist Stephen Vitiello communing in dialogue analogue and digital, converging field recordings and instrumental performance. Fuelled by sound-visions of extinct insects, cello-electronics fusers Mark and Laura Cetilia propose a post-production pact with Vitiello, skimping on afters to savour some of the real-time flavours from the studio session mains. The album’s sonic habit seems to stem as much from this decision to lay off as much as to intervene; earth and air, organic, as if a semiotic of imagined mandible chatter. These electro-acoustic microsound sculptures are given their head, cast in textures of oil and grit, a caustic scrim of sinetone sputter, tenebrous hum and thrum. “Cascoplecia” and “Ektatotricha” set the tone with zoom-ins and pans across an insectoid microcosmos, in which all manner of flute’n’flutter and creepy crawl’n’scuttle range through woozy mid-range drone wormholes, tumbling into fetid chambers of alien unquiet. “Vosila” takes a different turn, a felicitous encounter of natural and electronic that tosses the cello’s throaty bowings and keening scrapes in a crepitating sweet and sour soup. “Paleophaedon” takes some sci-fi blips and whirrs for a walk in the black Kosmische forest at the edge of the twilight zone to a remote headachey feedback and pulse backdrop. Low-frequency detail is especially engaging in the final “Monura” and “Electrinocellia,” both possessed of an appealing strangeness with a touch of something almost plangent, perhaps signifying an elegy for the extinction of these invertebrate ancients. Sonorities may lose individuality, especially when cello states are altered to buzz-tone and fuzz-drone; generally, though, Age of Insects retains a certain resonant character through its mix of electroacoustic and concrète with transient melodic and rhythmic detail, ensuring a satisfying sonic envisioning of concept.

Igloo Magazine (2011)