Review: Lorenzo Abattoir – A.throat.full.of.earth (Tides of Cluster, May 8)

Fans of the music of Torino, Italy artist Lorenzo Abattoir have access to no shortage of quality material. Across releases by his solo project Nascitari, the LACH duo with fellow art-waller Clive Henry, and other collaborative ventures such as Psicopompo or his releases with Dave Kirby, Abattoir has proven himself to be a formidable source of both versatility and consistency. What we have been missing, however, is a proper solo release from the musician, a gap that’s finally filled with the recent release of A.throat.full.of.earth on newcomer sub-label Tides of Cluster. Abattoir’s trademark toolkit of staticky glitch ornamentation, stagnant rumble, and jittery cut-ups is on full display throughout the seven tracks that comprise this new CD, each composed using “objects, noise, [and] broken electronics” and acting as “methods for disclose [sic] a different psychological state” to overcome the artist’s “inability to communicate with words.” These are some of his most well-realized pieces yet, full of elusive ambiguities and paradoxes: there are always things moving but somehow each piece feels like an unyielding, claustrophobic cell of sound; the textures nip and cut but never tip over into full-on abrasive assaults; all elements are eternally fragmented, disparate, sometimes even repelling each other, yet what makes A.throat.full.of.earth so amazing is how they sound together in grudging coexistence, the lushness and detail that creates. The seam between “2 in.tangible” and “3 somber.path” also illustrates how superbly the transitions between tracks are executed; the divide between the two is unmistakable, as each segment seems to be treated as its own self-contained sound environment, but the hand-off is so smooth you might miss it if you’re not paying enough attention. To listen to this one is to stumble through a series of surreal dungeons with your eyes closed, bare feet shuffling over broken glass and electronic wreckage, the stabs and shocks piercing fantastic dreams of islands and sea monsters.

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