In gothic films, the fear resides not in the Night or in the
Gods, nor in any such transcendence, but in one's own psychological swamp of memories, digestions and desires.
His self-titled second full-length for the Hapna label finds renowned post-minimalist guitarist Giuseppe Ielasi on the dark side, consistently
drawing from the gothic genre to explore the uglier sides of the human
This means, for one thing, that unlike past releases, which were often subtle and
undefined, this work houses more pronounced, robust forms, beacons that make
navigation through these supple tonal murmurings a great deal easier. Theremin warbling, a thin shriek of strings, and pointillist guitar feast on industrial rhythms, unfolding a stream of colors
and harmonies between foreground and background. At the same
time, the basic structures of gothic theatre music give Ielasi a welter
of signs to play with, and play with them he does, progressively stretching, cutting and pitch-shifting these stabbing shrieks of feedback, Morse code episodes, and somber piano sonorities into dense balls of
foreboding energy. This effectively keeps the cinematic motifs from becoming merely banal.
With Ielasi wresting
such minute fragments from the overarching genre, each fragment, in its own particular way, subverts more than
reflects the whole. This may be seen in the fifth track, where low-end rumbles of bass and bowed, multi-tracked guitar are intercepted midair by particles of static, swarming like startled bats storming out of a cave.
Track four explores another path, with Spanish guitar figures
dancing around light snare
swats and faint electronic rustling. Gradually, the percussion grows more
volatile, the electronics begin
to thrum, and soon an avalanche of electronic grit and grime
reaches a fingernails-on-a-chalkboard discord.
Elsewhere, Ielasi summons less shocking states, where compositions
unhurried, yet no less unsteady. The third piece, for one,
harbors cryptic yet distinct timbral changes, revealing an ear for balanced dynamics.
As though shaken
from its dream, the
album ends abruptly. Over its 40 minutes, though, Ielasi rests its menacing light
on plenty of new-spun forms, then moves affectingly on.