Bestie Infinite by Caterina Barbieri
Wear Patterns by Eleh (Important Records; LP/DL)
The split limited edition of 200 copies on clear vinyl will be released on 8/10. Always fascinated by the category of ‘split’ releases I try to determine here the link that bears commonality. Here we have an interesting pairing of Italian composer (based in Berlin) Caterina Barbieri + prolific electronic artist Eleh – each with tracks just over 15 minutes. Beginning with Barbieri‘s Bestie Infinite which starts off sounding akin to tuning a theremin. The soundwaves appear to be running horizontally, spacious, time-released in a short loop. She takes time to mold this spacious and trance-like work into an undulating form. The synths are bent and collapsed like spring forms. The balance of both bright waves and bass low flats prove to be something spectacularly peculiar in that at times it sounds like a completely reinvented set of bagpipes. Gauging the infinite in this light seems implausible, but the layers of delicate and tingling added tiers make it worth each added effort and element. Shifting chords meet harp strings in the final minutes, light and soft, drifting off into a misty fade.
On the flip/split side is Eleh‘s Wear Patterns. The tone here is quieter at first, a bit of a blur of whir. It’s distilled at times, near silence. All the while a touch despondent, slightly loose. The pulse like some type of meteorological tracking radar attempting readings, eventually becoming an inebriating drone. It’s the way in which the parts separate from each other at midpoint that make this whole thing quake with a stylish atonality. If you’ve ever listened to Spectrum, Spacemen 3 or even Spiritualized you will understand the centering power of the low end which Eleh deploys in a highly polished way here. The more elongated the wave, the more hypnotic it becomes, and your senses will be lost in the cyclical repeat. The overall sound is open, and to an extent all-seeing, though it’s patterns will wear on anyone with fragile sensibilities. Between these ears and you and I, the range in which this stays contained doesn’t stray far, and can easily be frustrating for some listeners, but that’s the point of tension, it’s only a test.
In the end comparing and contrasting these two works is likely suspect, only perhaps a double-take of the primary sound waves and removing all else would a minor conclusion be made. There is a similar way in which the two pieces induce a sense of body centering, or grounding. Each with an understanding of how the lows can stimulate the listener down to a cellular level. Otherwise they each have very distinct ways of layering the invisible implications of their effects and actions.