Mem1: Alexipharmaca

With their sophomore release, Israel's Interval Recordings redefine the term 'post-classical' with Mem1, mixing micro-processing and digital manipulation with the haunting wistfulness of the age-old cello. Mem1 are an electroacoustic hybrid that seamlessly blend the sounds of cello and electronics to create an original and cohesive performance, focusing on a constant yet subtle evolution of textures ranging from sparse to dense, ambient to rhythmic, tranquil to volatile. Rather than a duet between two individuals, listeners experience a single voice, exploring a limitless palette of sonic possibilities, submerging the listener in layers of distinctive and complex patterns, creating an aural experience which moves beyond melody, lyricism, and traditional structural confines to arrive at a new sense of organically-revealed narrative. Alexipharmaca, Mem1's second full-length album, is a collection of improvised works that capture the allure of the unknown and unexpected. Curious to explore the modern fascination with all things ancient and shrouded in mystery, the album's title is taken from a set of poems written by Nicander of Colophon, a Greek pharmacologist whose texts deal with plant and animal poisons and their antidotes. Comparisons can be drawn between Alexipharmaca and Nicander's writings; their diverse hordes of sounds intoxicating the listener with lavish beauty, but like a beautiful yet deadly flower, something ominous inevitably lurks beneath the surface. A perfect blend of harmony and cacophony, Mem1 show a level of intuitiveness that can only come from years of experience improvising -- experiences that include collaborating with the esteemed Penderecki Quartet (one of the most established string quartets in the world) and curating quarterly nights of contemporary classical and experimental music in Rhode Island, USA, where half of Mem1 resides and studies. Comparable to the criminally overlooked collaboration between Eavesdropper and Waterman on Belgium's Knob Sounds label, or artists as diverse as Murcof, John Cage or Alva Noto, Alexipharmaca is bound to appeal to all those interested in the recent renewed interest in modern, forward-thinking classical music and is bound to have a profound effect on anyone who enjoys their lucid soundscapes with equal shades of darkness and light. Interval Recordings established themselves as fine purveyors of home listening treats with their first release by Israeli sound designer, Amnon Wolman, but with Mem1 they truly take their output to the next level of timely importance. Turn off the lights, put on some comfortable headphones, and after careful listening, Alexipharmaca is bound to never move far from your heart and mind.

Forced Exposure (2007)