Reviews by Massimo Ricci

The A23H chronicle


JOSEPH FOSTER / ALFRED HARTH - Heart/Po$ter (Rasbliutto)

The CD cover, a beautiful black and white close up of what looks like a beehive (but I wouldn't bet my house on it) credits Foster and Harth with "trumpet, etc." and "reeds, etc." respectively. Now, it's just that "etcetera" that gives this album its distinguished personality; as a matter of fact, "Heart/Po$ter" is a record that mixes improvisation and musique concrete, an audio documentary full of unusual thinking patterns ("unusual" being the rule when dealing with this particular breed of musicians). Standing well clear off populist declarations, Foster and Harth are not afraid to get their hands dirty with the soil of unlawful object rustling, which they practice without premeditation even when the land appears unfruitful. Tampering with the exhalations produced by their instruments, they feel compelled to show the grainy details of noise as generated by everyday's objects, be it a radio, a Tibetan bell (I know what you're gonna say, but every fashionable zen home has its own "Tibetan something" nowadays - therefore that's an "everyday object”, too), a Jew's harp or some other sonic infection. Trumpet and reeds themselves describe a special way of navigating against the odd current: at times it looks like the multiphonics and the tiny wheezing cries of desperation coming out of that blowing wrestle would be better returning into Joseph and Alfred's lungs and stay there, observers - from within - of an unlikely landscape. And what's the method of understanding if what we hear is an helicopter or just a slowed down tongue oscillation? What's the line separating the uniqueness of these artists' voice from an involuntary portrait of Meredith Monk's glottal lamentations? No answer. Not from musicians that never mince tones, preferring instead to surprise their audience with a homemade poetry in which every sound acts as a birdcall for concentration. Thus, the most correct approach to this release is standing firmly in front of its almost nihilist appearance, sure about the fact that Joseph Foster and Alfred Harth will lead you through their impromptu structuralism without reticence.

In Touching Extremes