Giuseppe Ielasi - Five Wooden Frames [12K - 2020]Returning to 12k for his latest, sound artist Giuseppe Ielasi resurrects his guitar based artistry for Five Wooden Frames. Using the instrument both traditionally and as a sound source, the minimal, electro-acoustic result is both contemplative and haunting. By shifting and layering guitar artifacts, Ielasi manages to release the soul and ghosts trapped withing his six string.
The titular Five Wooden Frames refer to the five tracks framed by the acoustic guitar source. Minimally compiled, but maximally textured, Ielasi's treatment of the guitar is nothing short of alien. A wildly radical look at arguably the most familiar instrument in music, the tones and drones, squeaks and creaks elicited create an unsettling atmosphere where ordinary and otherworldly collide. Playing comfortably in the higher frequencies, the strings often have a bowed quality to them and aren't dissimilar from whale songs. Picturing ethereal cetacea dance and swim above one's head as the album plays is almost a guarantee. Non-traditonal string attacks are sharp and help to ground the aerial acrobatics, and are almost like pulling back the curtain. Is that the machine projecting the floating giants? While these large, floating pieces are the most dramatic, the more terrestrial, closer to traditional pieces are excellent as well. A bit beefier and feeling like cello or viola, there is an avant-garde, orchestral approach to composition that is calm and comfortable.
Evoking as many feelings as sounds from the guitar, Giuseppe Ielasi's Five Wooden Frames is a wonderfully contemplative album. Not only do the layers cause the listener to drift off and examine life, but also how they're constructed and where the absolute limits of guitar lie, if there are any. Like a thought experiment wrapped up in a beautiful package, Frames is an excellent example of how, in the right hands, a simple instrument can open up the door to a whole new world. Paul Casey