Review: Acchiappashpirt – Rrafsh (Turgid Animal, Apr 9)

Rrafsh (which roughly translates to the concept of “tabula rasa” in Albanian) is a dark, twisted love letter to the volatility of language. The newest release from Acchiappashpirt, the transnational duo of Albanian poet Jonida Prifti and Italian sound artist Stefano Di Trapani, dives into the inky black depths to reach the true bedrock of poetic expression: not just human utterance, but simply utterance. The project’s trademark palette of screeching electronic manipulation and often wordless vocalizing reach a new level of ontological harmony on Rrafsh; it’s often difficult to even discern which is which, and even when one is able to, attention is always drawn to their inextricable similarities. You can look at it as verbal and nonverbal poetic sources, or simply two different sources of pure poetic communication, but the immediacy of their presence, the range of intensity that is spanned in the matter of seconds, the persistent sense of impending catastrophic explosion—these things are what are truly of concern when listening to this album. The sheer viscerality of Rrafsh is impossible to ignore, and despite it possessing considerably more theoretical/extramusical implications (not that that is always a superlative) fans of dynamic or cut-up harsh noise may find a fitting entry point into the fascinating area of sound poetry with this superb release.