Boomkat Product Review:
Virtuosic modular synth fantasy and emo-rapture from Italian composer Caterina Barbieri, venturing the 2nd release on her Light-years label after its Lyra Pramuk-starring lead single.
Renowned for her live synth chops with 0PN’s band, not to mention a stellar run of records for Important and Editions Mego, Caterina now returns to orbit with the cosmic thrust of her 5th album, proper, ’Spirit Exit’. All endless flight, deep space roil and effuse prog-pop, the album’s eight parts feel to model the sensation of leaving one’s body and astrally projecting across unfathomable distance, with Caterina’s lyrically instrumental narration literally guided by female philosophers, mystics and poets such as St. Teresa D’Avila, Rosi Braidotti, and Emily Dickinson whom she fees a kinship with. It’s unapologetically epic and emotional stuff, perhaps not one for those of you who prize subtlety, but an absorbing ride for those who like it emo and panoramic.
Around its 10 minute centrepiece, an instrumental synth version of ‘Knot of Spirit’, sans Lyra Pramuk vox, Caterina oscillates from widescreen orchestral synth diffusion in ‘At Your Gamut’ to retro-futurist studies in proggy, renaissance-style choral chamber works, curdled club music and cosmic synth chaos with a clear conviction in her discipline. Crucially, there’s a sharper sense of syntax and style to proceedings that pays proof to the development of her sound over the past decade. The album’s two early choral pieces reveal a chiselled clarity to her experimental songcraft, at best in the multipart ‘Canticle of Cryo’, and prog-puckered in ‘Broken Melody’, while the mix of rugged dembow bump and streaking modular signals on ‘Terminal Clock’ is brimming with club potential in the right situations.