Review: SEC_ & Tricatiempo – La Tana (Subincision, Apr 7)

Domenico Napolitano, frequently known as SEC_, is no stranger to dual improvisational settings. He’s worked with a variety of sound artists from his home country of Italy and beyond, but it is his two collaborations with French powerhouse Jérôme Noetinger (Testacoda and La Cave des Étendards) that I believe to be his finest work. The virtuosic use of the Revox tape recorder is always an awe-inspiring spectacle, but the ruthlessly inventive interplay between Napolitano and Noetinger is some of the most amazing I’ve heard, their simultaneous dissolution and reinvigoration of physicality in abstract music a wonder to behold. The physicality of La Tana, a new release from Napolitano that sees him paired with Stefano Costanzo (Tricatiempo), is more conventionally grounded than that of either of the Noetinger duos; Costanzo brings a diverse array of percussive textures to the table, his spastic injections sometimes echoing the arrhythmic object play of Ted Byrnes and other times adopting half-formed grooves that introduce an element of free jazz-esque bounce to the proceedings. “Riflessioni per cadaveri” is the album’s longest piece, and allows Napolitano’s stereo-spanning tape whipcracks and electromagnetic buzzing to establish a strong presence while Costanzo works in the shadows with choice clatter and hulking industrial rumble. The rest of the album delightfully trounces across a wide range of conventionality; “Tempo” settles into a cacophonous, fractured Liebezeit cascade not dissimilar to the considered rhythms of Magaletti and Sartorius’s Sulla Pelle, while “Machines Like Me” casts sparse metallic scrapes against insubstantial static. A superb (and free of charge!) slice of creative improvised music.

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