Boomkat Product Review:
Incredible, transfixing avant-classical solo piano and dynamic, puristic synthesis from Iranian-American composer Cameron Shafii. Big RIYL Kevin Drumm, Iancu Dumitrescu, Mika Vainio, Luigi Nono
Following the short-run edition of his ‘DzGI’ tape in 2015, it’s fair to call ‘Corpora Vilia’ Cameron Shafii’s definitive release to date. Consolidating the Ph.D. student and Ge-Stell label boss’s fascinations with the physics of sound, specifically digital synthesis and spectromorphology, Shafii’s 2nd release places exacting techniques at the service of a uniquely refreshing, playful, and genuinely bewildering music.
In three durational parts, Shafii presents a wealth of micro-edited sounds arranged into radical synthetic symphonies. Structured around deeply uncanny transitions between acoustic and digital spheres, they each reveal inception-like worlds within worlds, using every integer of the sound field to draw ears between his spectral presences and pointillist acoustic strikes with a quietly breathtaking grasp of proprioceptive chicanery.
With ‘Points and Planes of Potential Future Violations’ he establishes a beguiling soundfield foregrounding insectoid electronics over cascading piano arpeggios in the midground, punctuated by percussive violence and leading to head-wrenching chaos recalling Luigi Nono’s ‘Non Consumiamo Marx’ classic. ‘Text 27 (Lise in Fernsehspiel)’ follows, rendering pink hued ambient harmonics centre stage, surrounded by vertically creeping strings while near-infrasonic bass turns the stage to jelly, before ‘Spatial Envy; or Suture and Cut-Pieces’ again extends the strangest timbral combinations and perception-baiting segues.
Ultimately it’s one of those releases that will constantly make you stop and double-check what you’re listening to. It’s floored us each time we return to it, at least. Lovers of leading edge experimental composition of all stripes need ‘Corpora Vilia’ in their listening lives.