Boomkat Product Review:
Adroit Italian chamber ensemble Alter Ego meet electronic music’s blacksmiths Pan Sonic in the first unveiling of their 2005 recordings.
Mika Vainio & Ilpo Väisänen’s Pan Sonic should hardly need introduction to you lot, while Alter Ego (Manuel Zurria, Paolo Ravaglia, Aldo Campagnari, Francesco Dillon, Oscar Pizzo, and Eugenio Vatta) may well be recognised from their 20 year run of collaborations with a stellar number including Gavin Bryars & Philip Jeck, Alvin Lucier, William Basinski, Alvin Curran and Terry Riley. This 2005 collision of energies and frequencies was initially conceived in 2004 by the former’s Fausto Romitelli before his untimely passing the following year, when the work was picked up by some of his closest friends, the composers Atli Ingólfsson, Giovanni Verrando, Yan Maresz, and Riccardo Nova, who developed four pieces based around previously recorded works by Pan Sonic.
The final recording was completed by Alter Ego in collaboration with Pan Sonic themselves, whose extreme high registers and guttural bombast underlines and swarms around the skilled instrumentalists for a visceral and shocking example of contemporary chamber music. The sounds of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano mesh with electronic tonalities in two extended works, sometimes imperceptibly, and at others clearly the work of one or the other set of bodies. From tense, barely there beginnings it goes as raucous as it gets in this neck of the avant-classical woods, forging unusual fusions of dancehall-driven bass drum swang and sharp shards of flute and strings, and sometimes recalling the outlandishness of Pan Sonic’s Blast First Petite sides with Keiji Haino, but puckered with devilishly careful classical swerve that veers between restraint and frenzy.