Andrea Marutti / Tommaso Cosco - Turra [Afe Records - 2008]The mysterious Archiaro is to be found in Catanzaro of Southern Italy – Tommaso Cosco describes it as “a countryplace where memory and becoming merge in a present full of inspired consciousness”. Occasionally it seems to be used as a low key venue for friends to perform experimental, ambient works in a natural setting – something that Andrea Marutti, head of Milan’s Afe Records, took advantage of in 2007 when he incorporated some of Tommaso’s ideas into a solo live performance that was released by Nextera the following year as ‘The Subliminal Relation Between Planets’.
Billed as a “natural extension” to Andrea’s live album, ‘Turra’ is named after an old stone building found in Archiaro. Here, Tommaso, taking advantage of the Turra’s natural reverb, recorded an unrehearsed vocal take on a melody from a local carillon (a huge instrument consisting of over 20 cast bronze bells triggered serially through an oversized keyboard by fists and feet). So it is with some surprise that the resulting 18 minute recording housed on this 3” CD-R sounds neither vocal nor melodious. It does, however, major on reverb and displays the sonorous properties of a bell.
Deep, rumbling, fragile tones are cast one after another, slowly and often unexpectedly, into the space, their long reverberating trails of harmonic overtones meet, collide and coalesce as their echoing decay is eventually eclipsed by another. The overall effect is evocative of a dark and damp labyrinth of dungeons whose tunnels and cells are defined by the combined emotional residue of previous solitary occupants. By starting out with a recording of a voice imbued with natural reverb, Andrea’s and Tommaso’s subsequent, presumably heavy, treatment expertly retains some of the drama inherent in organic source material, yet remains obtuse, making the short, monophonic intonations neither affecting nor disturbing, but, like its birthplace, intriguing.Russell Cuzner