Review: Mauro Sambo – 5 Clocks, 5 Musical Pieces, 1 Museum (Plus Timbre, Nov 3)

The music on 5 Clocks, 5 Musical Pieces, 1 Museum comes from audio constructed by artist Mauro Sambo for a sound installation of the same name, located in Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice. Sambo worked with recordings of the five recently restored clocks on display at the museum in addition to samples of works by five Italian composers that correspond to the appearance and sound produced by each clock. The result is a fascinating intermingling of concrete sound and the lofty, spectral arrangements of composers such as Domenico Cimarosa (“Diana”) and Luigi Cherubini (“Well”). Each segment weaves the rhythmic ticks and metallic clinking of the clock mechanism into the classical pieces, delving into territory distinct from the others. “Diana” bonds the metronomic rings of a green marble and gilt bronze clock with both formless drones and synchronized rhythms from Cimarosa’s work, even briefly exploring the amplified sounds of museum-goers that were presumably picked up when Sambo was recording the clock. Even though the album provides only part of the installation’s full effect, there is still a profound and well-crafted sense of space, sometimes identifiable like the aforementioned recordings of passerby on “Diana” to the mysterious environment created by stereo manipulations on “Lyre.” 5 Clocks, 5 Musical Pieces, 1 Museum masterfully captures the beautiful and the uncanny, the alluring pregnancy of historic objects and art, the unyielding force of time.