Mem1: Stationary Drift

Mark and Laura Cetilia, from Los Angeles, are Mem1. They have been working in the field of sound installation and electronica in recent years, but this 27-minute chapter of their career – which is downloadable for free at the label’s website – has enough merits to stand alone as an outstanding release, full as it is of delicate poetry, dejected desolation and frail tones that repeatedly touch our heart. Starting from a single source - a cello - the duo builds an amassment of layered uncertainties through the use of electronics, which complement and enhance the acoustic qualities of the instruments while generating a string of rather uncommon soundscapes, whose peculiar beauty is especially exalted by its pallid colours.

The sounds tremble, attempt to learn to fly without success, then lay tired on a stratum of digital oxidation and slight distortion, only to be finally captured in a processing network which steals their essence and retransmits it across the room, altered yet still poignant. The hypnotic allure of certain segments is what attributes humanity to this music, the sudden turns towards unfriendly zones is what renders it less predictable. The magnificent blending of these intense feelings and the not excessive duration of the sequence seal Stationary Drift with a stamp of near perfection, placing it among the best episodes heard in 2009 relatively to this artistic area. One looks forward to hear more from such extra sensitive, deeply insightful musicians. -Massimo Ricci

Touching Extremes (2009)