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CD Feature/ Giuseppe Ielasi: "Stunt"

img  Tobias
We all have a cliched picture of the inventor in our minds: The Bastler, the bricoleur, the tinkerer, sitting thick-rim-spectacled in his creative basement-laboratory, glueing, welding and wriggling metal, wooden and plastic parts together, working out objects and ideas that will satisfy his unquenchable thirst for innovation and improvement. It is a personality fostered by fantastic novels and Hollywood comedies, but on “Stunt”, Giuseppe Ielasi has really taken on the role of this character.

Fans of Ielasi’s early oeuvre and especially those with a penchant for his widely applauded “November” on 12k should therefore brace themselves, because they’re in for quite a suprise. Schoolmap Records are calling this Vinyl EP a “stylistic departure from his previous works”, but that is an understatement, if compared to the delicate, dreamy and discreet structures, sounds and seemless segues of its immediate predecessor.

Suddenly, Ielasi’s world is broken and torn apart. Brutally cut samples and stuttering beats are caught in a bizarre dance of psychotropic metrics, moving with and against each other without an obviously recognisable rationale. Behind the surface of snippeted and wilfully moving elements, more linear developments are taking shape - tenderly romantic chord progressions, airily aspirated melodies, pointily delayed organ stabs – but even these are continually shapeshifting, changing their accents, disintegrating and reassembling from scratch.

“Stunt” captures the listener in a game of raw associations: Amputated guitar string semblances hint at Folk, echo and offbeat skanks suggest glitchy Dub, noirish upright Bass pluckings and metallic cymbal crashes nod towards Jazz. These are neither sketches nor collages: Every piece is minutely defined, delineating a small world of wonders, establishing a set of rules along which its building blocks are interacting. Sometimes, one gets the feeling that Ielasi, as a sort of ever-curious demiurge, is just as bewildered at where they are headed as his audience.

As could be expected, such radical musical changes are accompanied with drastic alterations in technique: For “Stunt”, the first in a series of three releases, the Milan-based musician has made use of his collection of Vinyl records and a wide array of sound sources culled from three months of free experimentation and meticulously edited them in the studio afterwards. The music therefore nestles comfortably in between composition and improvisation, juxtaposing dramatically divergent moods and materials.

Sometimes, the result is crackling with erotic tension, then again it comes across as cocky and humorous, salsa-infused and dancey. The assertion that this release is “closer to house music productions than to Ielasi's more atmospheric and layered compositions” is however misleading. His familiar script is still clearly audible underneath his playful patterns, but he has decided to shift the balance: The romantic ideal of a genius and the cliched picture of the inventor are actually not that far apart – and on “Stunt”, Ielasi has simply shifted the balance towards the latter.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Giuseppe Ielasi
Homepage: Schoolmap Records

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