Caterina Barbieri - Fantas Variations Music Album Reviews

Caterina Barbieri - Fantas Variations Music Album Reviews
A diverse array of musicians reinterpret a standout from the Italian synthesizer composer’s 2019 album Ecstatic Computation, but only a handful recreate the metaphysical wonder of her work. 

Caterina Barbieri recently recruited a diverse array of musicians from around the world to reinterpret “Fantas,” a bracing 10-minute composition from her 2019 album Ecstatic Computation. The piece, which opens with wispy synths that give way to glowing orbs of sound that dart about in interlocking shapes, is engrossing in the same way watching an incoming storm can be; it provokes constant anticipation, the complex swirl impossible to take in all at once.

Barbieri’s music reflects a longstanding interest in the tension between the mechanical and the emotional, how one can blur or melt into the other. It’s a quality that many of the contributors here miss, and Fantas Variations loses the metaphysical wonder of her work. The collection is split between musicians arranging the piece for various instruments and electronic musicians attempting to translate the piece for the dancefloor. Though each artist accentuates something unique, there is something lost in nearly every single adaptation.

Several of the most compelling arrangements on Fantas Variations are the ones that stray furthest from the original. Saxophonist Bendik Giske hypnotic version zeroes in on one specific, repetitive pattern and gradually builds on top of it, the clicking sound of the keys audible on top of distant, wordless vocals. Kali Malone’s arrangement for two organs does away with hyperspeed counterpoint, molding the basic chord progression into her characteristically slow-motion slabs of sound.

While these, as well as Evelyn Saylor’s adaptation for four voices, use “Fantas” as a jumping-off point, others, including electric guitarist Walter Zenetti and producer Carlo Maria (who recreates the piece using Roland TR-808 and MC-202 units), offer flattened adaptations that sound imitative in comparison. On the other end of the spectrum are jarring, awkward remixes by the typically brilliant Nyege Nyege affiliate Jay Mitta and LA-based producer Baseck, both of whom dial up the BPM and end up obliterating the piece’s nuance and delicacy.

The album ends with “Fantas Morbida,” an abbreviated, sparse variation for solo piano by Kara-Lis Cloverdale. It boils the piece down to its essence, a pensive melodic line that glides over an open, syncopated arpeggio, reminiscent of the gorgeous piano interludes on Aphex Twin’s Drukqs. After nearly an hour of variations on the same theme, hearing that refrain laid bare feels like a rebirth, finally bringing the piece’s emotional impact into focus. The mechanics of the piano are simpler than those of the synthesizer, the human behind the music more immediately apparent. It’s a reminder that even when aided by machines and algorithms, human minds and human emotions give music meaning and power.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Caterina Barbieri - Fantas Variations Music Album Reviews Caterina Barbieri - Fantas Variations Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, April 09, 2021 Rating: 5

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