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Giuseppe Ieleasi: "(another) Stunt"

img  Tobias

Over the years, Giuseppe Ielasi has pulled quite a few friendly stunts on his audience. Initially an artist rooted in the EAI-community, Ielasi went on to charm the hearts of romantically-inclined experimentalists with a string of releases dominated by drones, field recordings and, to a lesser degree, ambient sensibilities. The third stage of his career, which set in with the founding of his new „Schoolmap“-imprint and the subsequent release of the first „Stunt“ EP,  had all the appearance of someone wishing to re-live his youth: Cut-up techniques and metropolitan whit, quirky references and sexy grooves, HipHop culture and Jazz cool as well as showstopping improvisational gestures and 21st century digital precision were melded into tracks which no longer answered any metaphysical questions. That trend continues with the advent of the second installment in the „Stunt“-series.

If the first impression is one of continuity, however, it is quickly confounded by the notion that, possibly for the first time in this new chapter of Ielasi's curriculum, the aspects of quotation and re-contextualisation are no longer of seminal importance. The truncated torso of a Trumpet still duets with a metronomical stapler on the fourth of six untitled tracks, while the spoken word narration and crackling microbeats of the opening tune and the pumping stabs of the second installment still have a spicy urban flavour to them. But for most of the time, „Another Stunt“ refers to previous installments of the series more than anything, especially in the passages where an Upright Bass is demonstratively taking on the duties of lead instrument or when Iealisi stretches his seemingly fragmentary sketches to fully-fledged compositions on the strength of nothing but some elementary turntablism. When he, on one occasion, gleefully juxtaposes technoid abstractions with deeply romantic Harp loops, it is not the stale smell of cross-over or misplaced postmodern irony that's in the air but the scent of discovery, dare and exploration.

If, on the other hand, an album like „Aix“, thanks to its wondrous ideas and endearing spontaneity, had a pervasive pop-touch to it, that, too, has been reduced to a side-thought. „Another Stunt“ sees Ielasi at his most sound-oriented, texture-obsessed and curious. The beats are as craftily constructed as ever, but their pulse propels the listener inwards. There are melodic spikes and appealing hooks abound, but after the last note has died down, you no longer find yourself whistling to them. At times, samples triggered as  perpetual impulses condense into continuous sheets of sustained harmony, but they are functional rather than immersive. Emotional ambivalence has taken over as a theme and it comes accompanied by a perpetual reshuffling of the thematic cards.

There are, however, two elements finely counterpointing the uncompromising stance of the EP: Energy and humour. Even the most traditional of audiences will find it hard to resist the utter joy that percolates through these charmingly creative collages, nor the sunshine radiated by the pleasantly surreal feel of some of the stylistic commingling. Instead of trying to be clever, this is music that makes you think of buskers, jugglers, the colours of circus and the bright breeze of Summer. As long as he keeps this endearing warmth to his work, Giuseppe Ielasi can be sure to offend no one by pulling plenty more stunts on his audience over the next few years.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Giuseppe Ielasi / Schoolmap Recordings

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