Gianluca Iadema – ID[entità]

Posted: 18 March 2023 in Albums
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Mille Plateaux – 14th April 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

ID[entità] is a collaborative work between composer, performer, sound and multimedia artist Gianluca Iadema and Swiss vocalist, improviser-composer Franziska Baumann, which developed over the span of 2017 to 2021, and is as much a work of decomposition and deconstruction and reassamblage as anything.

We’re deep into the territory of artistic concept and execution here, as the accompanying notes detail how ‘the Italian artist composes for the electronic and the acoustic voice, searching for similarities and contrasts that take styles of glitch, techno, and pop music to the extreme. Far from melody and accompaniment, he composes an oscillating interplay of the acoustic and the electronic environment, morphing and sculpting the two realms as equal sound materials. Rarefied moments, melodic outbursts reminiscent of Renaissance vocal music, and rave rhythms give rise to sonic textures embedded in a minimalist framework. The compositions are conceived in “spaces” rather than linear development, although an “ergodic” narrative is present. With a cubist approach, the spatially sculpted sounds transform into intimate moments and vice versa, thus allowing atmospheres to separate identity and non-identity. Born as a cycle of compositions for electronic voice.’

Cubism in music is something I have never considered, let alone encountered, and so I am – naturally – curious to discover what the album’s ten pieces would contain.

Strange, strange sound it what they contain. This is perhaps one of the oddest voice-orientated works I’ve heard since Mike Patton’s Adult Themes for Voice. Like Patton, Iadema showcases just how strange, unsettling, and unnatural the human voice can sound. That most familiar of things can also prove to be the most uncanny when its familiarity is twisted out of shape in any way. Against straggling strains of digital glitchery and fear-chord drones, we gets breathless utterances, muttering mumbles and off-key scales.

I hear eerie discord and dissonance; I hear voices bent out of shape to create forms that aren’t natural or humanly achievable without manipulation – but being human voices, they resonate subconsciously as belonging within the psyche. I hear stuttering glitches looped into helicopter rotors and panic attacks and sultry, soporific drones. I feel choral exultations and moments of contemplative spirituality. I hear uncertainty and a sense of unease. I hear scrambled bleeps and fluttering microtones, snippets in foreign tongues, a sensation akin to Wiilliam Burroughs’ cut-ups whereby words, sounds and images collage together to portray the world as we experience it, consciously and subconsciously, and simultaneously rather than via chronologically-sequenced narrative. There’s trilling and milling, humming and murmuring, and a sense of something just beyond reach, beyond knowledge, beyond perception, and a sense that something is somehow wrong. I may not hear Cubism, but then perhaps I’m not sure what I’m listening for, but I do hear fragmentation, sonic manipulation and all kinds of jarring effects.

With the majority of the tracks stretching beyond the five-minute mark, ID[entità] is a long album, and one which despite being quite calm and gentle in tone, with protracted ambient stretches hovering in an unsettling mist.

It’s a unique and visionary work which pushes multiple boundaries at the same time. ID[entità] is not always an easy listen and it’s by no means immediate, but it is accomplished and utterly compelling.


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