Boomkat Product Review:
Cellist, composer & sound artist Leila Bordreuil takes us to the bowels and liminal spaces of a deserted NYC during the summer months of lockdown, with contrasting works of tempestuous and sorely enervated nature, played on location in the subway at the Ralph Avenue subway stop in Brooklyn - complete with passing trains, people and the tension in the air, plus a resonance/frequency headmelter performed on cello, ruined piano and electronics on the flip. If yr into anything from Arthur Russell to Lea Bertucci, this one's a must.
For Documenting Sound, Leila supplies a richly evocative pair of performances recorded in a near-abandoned subway station (Ralph Avenue) and the hallway of her apartment block in Bedstuy, Brooklyn, with a grippingly stark edge that owes as much to the city’s history of jazz as it does to experimental classical forms, much in the vein of her exceptional ‘Headflush’ album from 2019 that we’re still trying to wrap our heads around two years later.
On ‘For Tamio’ Leila pays tribute to her most recent collaborator, Tamio Shiraishi, whose late night performances at the Spring Street subway, 10 stops away from Ralph Avenue, have greatly inspired her own approach to capturing and playing with resonance in the subway. For just shy of 20 mins, and accompanied by an incidental conductor who was residing in the station, she makes the air burn and buckle with a combustible grasp of loud/quiet dynamics and keening discord that has us seat-edge by the end.
In contrast, ‘Past Continuous’ on the other side operates at barely perceptible levels of tonality, working in the liminal space of her building’s hallway and positioned to its old, upright piano as a sort of resonator, with brick placed on the pedal to create hallucinatory, ghostly overtones and one colossal sub underneath that speaks to the anxiety dreams of a megatropolis in stasis.