Review: Rosso Polare – Lettere Animali (Klammklang, Jul 7)

Lettere Animali is the debut release of the Milan-based Rosso Polare, a duo composed of multimedia artists Cesare Lopopolo (Caesar’s Psycho Machine) and Anna Vezzosi. Their creative collaborations take the form of masterfully deconstructed and abstracted Mediterranean folk flavors, relying on accessible melodies while mercilessly distorting conventional forms and structures. The musical sessions out of which Lettere Animali grew were freely improvised, and the instantaneity that introduces is retained even after the many instrumental tracks are combined, layered, and subtly manipulated. On the first few songs, this heavy electronic aspect is largely imperceptible, but “No. 3” changes that with its dense, kaleidoscopic arrays of acoustic instruments, processing artifacts, horns, and distorted electric guitar. These pieces may not be “live” in the traditional sense, but they certainly feel like it; “No. 19,” with its incessant pounding drum and escalating dynamics feels like a tribal ritual deep in the woods, while “No. 9” heavily relies on binaural field recordings to set the scene for a nature-filled, lazy summer afternoon jam. Though Lettere Animali’s very minimal cover is a deep red, its simplicity and uniformity evoke serenity for me more than anything else, something of which there’s plenty to be found throughout this delightful record.

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