Review: Emanuele Fais, Giacomo Salis & Paolo Sanna – Earthworms (Aural Tempel, Oct 2)

As a duo, Earthworms is not Giacomo Salis and Paolo Sanna’s first rodeo. The two abstract percussionists perform and record frequently as Salis/Sanna Percussion Duo, as well as embarking on other ventures with other artists—although, more often than not, they still appear on these releases together. I had the good fortune of being sent some video recordings of the sessions that produced the Humyth tape on Confront last year, and even with the most unconventional combinations of objects, natural ephemera, and actual percussion instruments, Salis and Sanna’s chemistry is palpable (and that’s definitely the case here). But arguably their most successful works are those which involve just one other participant, like 2016’s KIO GE with Jeph Jerman (also on Confront) and now Earthworms with Emanuele Fais. The latter is an artist I don’t know much about, but his unique role in the trio as the sole provider of electronic effects often throws the delicate interplay of the disc into strange new areas, maintaining the quiet, almost subterranean atmosphere (and that’s not just because of the title) but also introducing foreboding, murmuring flows that curl beneath the clatter and subtle glitch warps that, sometimes, shape the proceedings into something quite alien, and, at others, desperately reach for beauty.