Reviews by Massimo Ricci

The A23H chronicle


As Yves Drew A Line.Estate

Re Records Hong Kong

Alfred 23 Harth: all instruments & recordings, with brief ghost apparitions by Fabrizio Spera (drums), Luca Venitucci (piano), Choi Sun Bae (trumpet)
Earthly life is mostly shaped by irritating human excrescences and lumps of illusory “happiness” amidst heterogeneous nightmares and extremely welcome, if impermanent segments of calmness. Its components are usually too many to be systematically organized, and – given that brains are not reliable – an excess of messages transmitted in quick batches can cause serious problems. This has always been the principal reason for the idiotic refusal of unidentifiable music: take out of the equation the safety net of a familiar scheme, the firm clutch to a category, the mandatory call to “belonging” to some movement, and the best you can get is a reaction along the lines of “nice, but give me something more accessible”. Evolution slapped in the face, flea-bitten posturing and derelict coolness replacing the tendency to multiple storage and parallel thinking that one could ideally reach via an earnest transonic education.
During my first approach to As Yves Drew A Line. Estate there were surrounding circumstances that transformed the experience in a surreal trip, your reviewer oscillating between a somewhat alert REM state and a whirlwind of different images rapidly materializing and immediately disappearing. However, each subsequent spin brought an unequivocal response: this CD must be ranked among Alfred 23 Harth’s most accomplished opuses as far as “getting to the point” is concerned in his polymorphic vision of all things sound. We might describe it as an electroacoustic documentary synthesizing the bulk of his receptive artistic being. These 21 tracks – few of them are (meaningful) mere snippets – may appear to the musically preliterate as a mishmash manufactured in the name of an anarchy that recognizes its own existence exclusively, but doesn’t attempt to substantiate its contents to render the world a better place. Follow this advice, folks: “Listen. Learn” (…yes, I’m replicating the album’s titling style – all the chapters, minus the third, contain a dot in the names).
Non-convergent conjectures and fast actions find implausible spots to melt as consuming throbs of regurgitated momentariness (“Cityone. Shanti”). Mesmerizing repetitions of tiny incidents extinguish the mind’s will to stray around, furnishing it with coordinates for the retrieval of an analytical geometry. Unshapely reeds seem to lampoon the holy attitude of certain “researchers” interested in reaching the largest quantity of fundings through grimacing and fake sufferance, their asses kept warm by wealthy foundations or steady stipends by well acquainted “cultural” entities. Genuine ascensions (…and no, John Coltrane has nothing to do with this) get scarred by acerbic slices containing ephemeral voices, sloping chorales of uncertain identity, trans-gendered prayers. Breath, sax tones, electronics and unconventional utilization of looping and pitch shifting hammer our capacity of decoding an acoustic message into a flexible sculpture of adaptation to the improbable (“Top Floor Icosahedron. Open Delay”). Backward vocals, distant rain, abrupt surges of discombobulating counter-harmonies, see-sawing minimalism comprising glissando guitars. Everything incisively tailored in the exact instant of the creative spurt, later assembled in Harth’s studio as the ideal depiction of a complexity that only silence can embrace to its full extent. In this case, though, silence is just what we need after taking in the type of multitudinous correspondence of events that, once understood, separates those who live from those who are enslaved by living.
In Touching Extremes