Review: Renato Grieco & Francesco Tignola – Hibernacula (Glistening Examples, May 1)

The young Italian sound artist Renato Grieco displays a tremendous amount of range across his relatively small discography, his virtuosic dissections sometimes evoking warm, comfortable domesticity (Queste cose non avvennero mai ma sono sempre / Rlecchinesque) and other times fashioning jagged juxtapositions, surreal sludge, and atmospheres with compelling ambiguity (Double Goocher Shop, Granchio Pinocchio). This new release, for which Grieco is joined by countryman Francesco Tignola (who frequently releases music as Elisha Morningstar, a project with which I definitely need to better familiarize myself), mostly belongs to the latter camp. The four tracks that comprise Hibernacula are full of layered, detailed, intricate music, but also probably isn’t the best thing to get stoned to; opening track “Two” is a a dense, restless mass of paranoia, a lushly arranged array of rustles, thumps, knocks-on-doors from all directions, ringing bells—but it never boils over into full-blown insanity, instead sticking to the corners and shadows, fleeing from the light. Though Glistening Examples head Jason Lescalleet’s only contribution to Hibernacula was his reliably superb mastering work, I hear a lot of his influence here, especially near the end of “One,” a moment where pitched-down vocals and electronic drones make for some rare, fleeting beauty. This short album slithers back into its hole after less than half an hour, but many repeat listens are necessary to decipher it all.

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