Caterina Barbieri: Ecstatic Computation
It sounds like synthesizers, it sounds like sequencers, it sounds like someone is alive. That person is Caterina Barbieri, who, with Ecstatic Computation (36’04”), has realized a substantial Electronic Music. In her poem of electricity an ecstasy of synthesizer modules, cables and cases are used to describe an imaginary place with imaginary sounds. Irresistible from first bleep to last bloop, this album illuminates corners of the mind which usually stay dark. Overflowing with effortlessly effective musical invention Ecstatic Computation is uniformly excellent. Interweaving multiple tone patterns in a simple, fluid elegance this release comes through refreshingly unlike much of modern music. Full of incident, drama and emotion the six world-warping tracks seem like the inside of a cosmic clock – intricate, labyrinthine, and working around us in a kind of harmony we cannot begin to comprehend… until the final note sounds. Melodies bound along with rhythmic freedom, harmonies shift from one color to another, with full-strength synthesizers bleating, dancing and popping before our ears. In a kind of bladed terrain the musical forms assemble themselves around her, rather than in a pre-figured trajectory. Honed but not overworked Barbieri’s style has found a productive partnership between music and technology. Sounds collide and combine amidst a pervasive air of cool. In a slow precision her perfectly placed transitions produce an expressive urgency. Through a fugue of the continuous she travels the abyss between dreams, to realize the mirage of a coming age. On the black waters of Modular Synthesis Caterina Barbieri casts an ideal shining timbre – the presence of which might still our thinking and allow us to truly sense what we are hearing. Every generation must discover EM for itself, and in her time Barbieri has not only acquired total technical command of her music system, but has also developed an unmistakable voice. Her starry future is fueled by imagining that something wholly unfamiliar might still be encountered somewhere in the distance. But we will always feel like strangers to her, as Barbieri has peered into another realm – and we cannot follow. By listening to her Ecstatic Computation, we encounter an expansive imagination, and take our first steps into a larger world.