Review: Giacomo Salis – Naghol (Grisaille, Jan 24)

Giacomo Salis’s first official solo release is also by far his best work yet. On Naghol the Italian abstract percussionist conducts a sound study of a single spring; what role that springs actually plays, however, is somewhat ambiguous. Part I brings to mind a massive, multifaceted modern art installation in the vein of Max Eastley, endless layers of metallic collisions that form spectacular harmonic overtones; is it a gigantic spring with which he interacts using metal rods and other objects, or is the spring what’s being used as the gestural tool? Usually when I ask questions of the nature, they’re more rhetorical because I have some idea of what’s actually going on, but in this case I have absolutely no idea. But whether you spend your time pondering what process produces the music or simply, you know, listening to it, the result is much the same: Salis’s magnificent sense of pace, progression, and textural interaction is on full display over these three concise cuts, and no one can avoid getting lost in these dark, rattling clatter-scapes that seem at once limitless—in an abyssal, mezzanine sort of way, that is—and confined. Essential for fans of the elusive genre also typified by Remnants’ Empty Ruin; i.e., the lumberingly kinetic dark ambience of dragging giant rocks and pieces of scrap along the floor of a subterranean cavern.

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