Clara Iannotta - Moult [Kairos Music - 2022]
Italian born composer Clara Iannotta embodies her take on the modern classical form with a real feeling of sonic physicality – which can either be uneasily seared, jarringly bombastic, twistingly alien, or unsettlingly ambient. Moult is a CD that brings together four works from the composer, which utilizers chamber and string orchestration, piano, percussion, amplified ensemble, objects and sine waves- all to create a decidedly unpredictable, unbalancing and often jarring journey into modern composition.
The CD appears on Vienna based Kairos Music- and is presented in a dull matt digipak. This is a four-panel affair- which features a stuck on forty-page glossy inlay booklet, which takes in English & German texts about Iannotta and the pieces. Pictures of the composer, and detailed/ complex compositional drawings/ illustrations.
Moult is the third album of Iannotta’s work to date- with the other two releases being 2016’s A Failed Entertainment (Edition RZ ) and 2020’s Earthling (WERGO, Deutscher Musikrat). And I must say I was most taken with what I heard on Moult- as she has a highly distinctive, shifting, and at times alien textured/ noisy take on modern classical composition.
The album opens with the title piece, which was written between 2018- 19, and is played here by modern chamber orchestra WRD Sinfoniechester. This comes in at just over the seventeen-minute mark- and it’s certainly a great introduction into Iannotta's alien and unbalancing sonic world. We begin with a building weave of creaks and sour swoops. As we progress, we find sinister key toll been met by twists and gates of tone, with sudden swooping and bounding rushes of instrumental tension, and bombastic percussive rush. The work unpredictable seesaws back and forth between hazed psycho-ambient dwell, uneasy building tone and texture, and sudden/ violent rushes of sound- which take in both strange insect-like twitches, forking glows, and all alien out noise engulfment. The seventeen minutes seem to fly by, and when it’s finished you feel both unsettled & a little shook up, wondering quite what you’ve just heard.
Next, we have the nearing fourteen and a half minutes of “Paw-marks in wet Cement(ii)”- this was composed between the years 2015 and 2018. It’s for piano, two percussionists, and an amplified Ensemble. It begins rather moody & relatively formal manner with a mix of hovering string swirl/ feedback, tensely locked piano key hits, and taut percussive detail- with this almost wow-wow like harmonic touches appearing. But don’t get too settled, as fairly soon we shift into alien bird-like chatters, swamping string wooziness, and crinkly/ ticking textural detail. The taut key hits/ percussive details do reappear, but there’s nothing predictable or safe about the track.
The final work here is 2016’s “Dead wasps in the jam-jar”- this comes in at the fourteen forty mark, and is for string orchestra, objects, and sine waves. The work is a slow-if unnervingly twisting 'n' turning journey through shrill and sour hover, grating orchestration folds, and swooping textural disquiet.
If the idea of a more twistingly insect-like, unpredictable and often textural alien take on Xenakis sounds like your idea of fun, then Moult is most certainly something you’ll be needing to track down. To find out more, hear samples, and of course, buy direct head to here. Roger Batty