The Last Days Of Reality by Lionel Marchetti & Cat Hope

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Lionel Marchetti & Cat Hope | The Last Days Of Reality
Room40 (CD/DL) – Performed by Decibel Ensemble

It was 2013 when it happened to me, my chance to attend a concert of Decibel Ensemble. They were touring Europe performing John Cage’s Variations and I was lucky enough to have them in my city, at L’Asilo. By that time I was just developing a taste for electroacoustic and contemporary music and that concert was among the first of the kind I attended. I did not even know what to expect exactly and could not have imagined how that concert would have changed my way of conceiving live music performance.

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Lionel Marchetti was another happy encounter that occurred when a friend of mine sent over his Natura Morta to me. Listening to that was a striking experience: the way the few sound elements were orchestrated through time was mesmerizing and that record has never left my personal “essential albums” list. Back to now it is hard to say how thrilled I was by the idea of finally listening to an album sealing the collaboration between Cat Hope, and her Decibel Ensemble, and Lionel Marchetti. So I grabbed it as soon as I could and listened to it right away.

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The final result didn’t land very far from my expectations. A rich and masterful exploitation of the ensemble timbric potential in which the electronics integrate perfectly, becoming an additional instrument with its own localization in space and frequency. Compositional structures that unfold through time create complex horizontal planes over which elements of vertical constructions reveal themselves little by little. Superlative care has been given to every single sound object which turns into the creation of beautifully crafted images that the listener can investigate in detail while guided through.

As listening to the record the way it is conceived, following the tracklist, I was left with a number of questions. I found very curious how the last track, called “Première étude” (first study) was also the first to be composed and I felt then a certain urge to address another listening strategy, following a chronological composition order. This new approach resulted in a new, superb experience that unveiled how the synergy between Marchetti’s compositional aesthetics and the characteristics of the ensemble led by Cat Hope has increased through time, reaching new and astonishing levels of complexity and affording some more risks. Now exploring the dialectic boundaries of acoustic and electronic sound communication (the middle part of “The Last Days of Reality” in which flute extended play intertwines with subtle high frequency synthetic sounds is a good example of this dialogue).

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Of all the pieces the one that carved its space in my heart is surely “Pour un enfant qui dort”. Here the electroacoustic material plays an unexpected and unprecedented role in comparison with the rest of the album that adds a certain degree of tension together with anecdotal references that strike deep, totally à la Marchetti.

A masterpiece.

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