Review: Amuleto – Misztériumok (Three:Four, Apr 6)

Amuleto’s third album, Misztériumok, continues the duo’s explorations in unique blends of electronics, acoustic instruments, and recorded sound. Expansive drones are forged from resonant strings and sputtering manipulations, seamlessly moving between beauty and intense, primordial darkness. There never seems to be a ton of things going on at once, but every moment is thick and lush; even on closing track “Nebeltanz,” when a single droning cello and occasional bassy clunks are the only elements present, there is a pronounced, warm density to the music. It’s hard to tell whether these pieces were improvised or composed; I would guess a combination of both, because each track is very fluid and free-form but the overall movement and dynamics seem more tightly controlled. Regardless, Amuleto members Francesco Dillon and Riccardo Wanke demonstrate their abilities as masterful sonic craftsmen, layering sound objects in just the right way to conjure a vivid atmosphere. The musicians were apparently inspired by photographs from early twentieth century Europe, and their depiction of “an ephemeral serenity with an imminent sense of crisis and loss”; a profound, intangible state that is somehow evoked equally well by the music on Misztériumok.

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