Somnambule - Writing About Music

Paul Wirkus ~ Inteletto D’Amore

Inteletto D’Amore is the fourth release on the Quecksilber label. It’s low-key – diminutive even - but like the small door through which Alice gains entrance to Wonderland, it profers a host of possibilities. Wlot’s melodic refrain rises up through layers sounding like the ghostly longing of a piano straining to be heard through enclosed loops and sundry percussive clicks. Blask carries vocals whose breathy, ululating tones recall Suicide: Alan Vega’s delivery transmogrified into chilled to the bone rather than baked by (southern) heat. The backing music even shares something of the seminal New York group’s minimalism, sounding as it fades out like a small sonic warning of a much larger impending disaster.

Physikerin begins with what might be the sound of swamp gases bubbling to the surface of rich, murky waters in the foreground. While in the background, at the edge of the aforementioned swamp lies an industrial plant whose distant rumblings and clankings are mirrored by the croaks and burblings of treefrogs, the hisses and slitherings of copperheaded snakes and the clackings of crawfish. This rich soundscape manages to enact a sonic reconciliation between technology and nature. At least that’s the initial impression though it’s gradually overtaken by the sense of being in a malignant, unsettling place where the listener is unwelcomed by both nature and industry.

Fascimile begins with the sounds of a chorus of artificial woodpeckers. Aldrin (Buzz?) clatters and echos like the synthetic recreation of banging pots and pans or the active sound of tinsel – clattering and fading on an endless return. I wonder how one would dance to the wonderfully titled Breakfast Dance? It consists of hums and burrs and the shush of compressed air engaging and disengaging continually – it’s the aural evocation of the shimmering of the horizon on a baking hot day. Halfway through it’s joined by big heavy bass which gradually insinuates itself into the sonic picture.

Inteletto D’Amore is frequently reminiscent of Brian Eno’s On Land transposed into the currency of digital concerns. The cover graphic is the one element of the endeavour which appears inconsistent: its portrayal of a detail of a minimal oil painting appears inconsistent with the artificial, purring detail of the music. Apart from this Inteletto D’Amore is a modest, but fascinating work.
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by the BBC