Review: Marco Colonna – FORAMINIFERA (Plus Timbre, Apr 1)

On FORAMINIFERA, Marco Colonna’s breaths reign supreme. There are hardly any conventional notes produced by his clarinet throughout the entire album; instead, the focus is placed on other sounds. We hear the clicks of the keys, guttural inhales, and bass-filled drones, a truly bizarre range of noises that makes it seem like Colonna is more doing battle with his instrument than playing it. Even when notes are present, they’re not really the center of attention. Instead, the listener is drawn to the mechanical clanks and percussive blows that produce the notes. Sometimes, the almost futile-sounding exhales that produce no tones strike me as similar to Anthony Braxton’s playing on the legendary For Alto; but where the latter’s attacks eventually claimed victory and broke into atonal flurries, Colonna’s often fail completely, providing us with an entirely unique set of textures to explore. While FORAMINIFERA is the first thing I’ve heard from the young musician, it cements him in my mind as a capable and captivating improviser, which will no doubt be supported by the rest of his impressive body of work.

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