Mem1: Alexipharmaca

Described as "an electroacoustic hybrid" by the press release, Mem1 are Laura Thomas-Merino (cello, electronics) and M.Cera (electronics), "Alexipharmaca" being their second full-length release, inspired by poems written by Nicander of Colophon (a Greek pharmacologist) about "plant and animal poisons and their antidotes". Not that one could guess this influence from the music, a fascinating mixture of cello loops and real-time manipulation that possesses dissonant angularity and beguiling ambient charm in equal doses, and which I haven't been able to compare to anything else - a major plus for my judgement's criteria. Twelve improvised tracks show the full extent of this duo's capabilities, mostly based on a gentle materialism in which modified sources and virtual environments constitute a sort of parallel world that, when listened at "slightly-more-than-a-whisper" volume in a quiet setting, appears populated of microscopic creatures and alimented by faintly warming energies that establish a direct connection with our nervous system, helping it to discard extraneous disturbances. An elusive, instantly captivating album that I strongly recommend to be enjoyed without headphones, "Alexipharmaca" is a positive surprise on all accounts and the demonstration that, no matter how many records we listen to, an everlasting curiosity is the key to welcome discoveries. –Massimo Ricci

Touching Extremes (2006)