Mem1 + Stephen Vitiello: Age of Insects

A record featuring elements of improvisation suitable to the coincidence and management of a multitude of electroacoustic sources, Age Of Insects represents the crop of repeated meetings between the duo of Laura and Mark Cetilia – recent engenderers of the excellent Tetra on their own label Estuary Ltd. – and Stephen Vitiello, a quiet wire-puller in the zone where the condensation of concrete and abstract sounds produces innovative aural suggestions. The seven tracks – recorded at Vitiello’s studio in Richmond – are symbolically connected to an unreal, yet vivid impression of “extinct insects – the imagined hum and flutter of their calls, flight and communication”. While some of the sonorities might indeed recall comparable milieus, especially when the tones of Laura Cetilia’s cello get mercilessly modified to bionic buzzing by the processing strategies applied by her partner, the inherent organic qualities of the music are striking regardless of speculative inspirations and references. Obviously, the droning traits of the trio’s work in the low-frequency area are quite engrossing, primarily in the final episodes “Monura” and “Electrinocellia”, the latter closing the album with a touch of genuine poignancy bathed in tremulous angst. The artists arrive at that point following maps containing nonfigurative sketches and beautifully resonant noises, occasionally bearing a vague resemblance to the extraterrestrial junctions typical of celebrated electronic champions from the 70s. Far from cheerfulness, loaded with unrevealed secrets, this resilient creature needs recurring attempts before breaking into its sonic shell. After that, it’s uncontaminated bliss for the large part of the time that you’ll devote to it. –Massimo Ricci

Touching Extremes (2011)