Harold Budd + Eraldo Bernocchi: Music For Fragments From The Inside (2xLP, Sub Rosa, December 2014)

Combining classical music and electronica sounds like a great idea in theory, but in my experience it’s often pretty underwhelming in practice. Not so this collaboration, recorded live at the Palazzo Delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea in Siena, Italy, initially released in 2005, and here re-released on beautiful double LP. Bernocchi’s electronics — at times straight-up ambient, at others a kind of driven by a heavy thumping beat — provide the atmosphere. Budd’s piano — simple, airy, improvised melodies — provides the soul. Sometimes the two seem to work in concert, a minor-key piano line played on the beat; more often, the moody electronics thump darkly at the core of the music while the delicate curlicues of piano skitter over the surface. (I believe that Budd’s improvisations are largely in a pentatonic scale, although I’m no expert — this presumably contributes to the jazzy feel.) The result, from the piano study One to the slow-building epic Seven, is pretty wonderful. (They have one final trick up their sleeves, too: at the start, we hear the sound of the audience settling down; at the end, we hear them applaud, but then glitchy production effects start mutating the applause itself, playfully pointing out the ambiguity inherent in live recordings. No hay banda!)

I bought this from the Sub Rosa shop.

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