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På skive


«Wind Bells Falls»

Robbie Lee is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, improviser, experimental sound artist and composer, performing on eclectic, unconventional and often vintage acoustic instruments in electronic-like creative ways, involved in a spectrum of areas ranging from experimental to pop and indie rock, and collaborating with Mary Halvorson, Neil Hagerty, Che Chen and Eleanor Friedberger and the gothic band Seaven Teares. «Prismatist» is a solo album and here Lee plays the sopranino saxophone and tuning forks with live handled battery-powered electronics, two currents alternating through the album, a double helix of contrasting extremities. The album was created by Lee «in an empty house» in one day in July 2018 and was mastered by Elliott Sharp.

Lee focuses here on restless, open-ended textures. He often employs the sopranino sax as a timeless, traditional, folk instrument, referencing East European, Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern traditions, but soon investigates the timbral range and the unique sonorities of the sopranino sax, twisting and disintegrating the loose folk melodies into intuitive, stream-of-thought, snaky patterns. The pieces for tuning forks and live electronics offer more abstract but gently resonating musique concrète, as the tuning forks emulate subtle sine waves slowly floating in the open air.

«Wind Bells Falls» is a meeting of Lee with one of New York’s most unconventional musicians, sound artist Lea Bertucci. Lee plays here on medieval and baroque woodwinds – the human-sized contrabass recorder, the mouse-sized medieval gemshorn, and wooden traverso flute, all from the early 1700s, plus the pearloid covered celeste keyboard (used in many mid-century jazz and pop standards) and vintage tubular bells, while Bertucci live-manipulates and mangles his playing, hands inside a reel-to-reel tape machine.

The album was recorded in two sessions in January and February 2019 and was mastered by Sharp. Lee and Bertucci free improvise, sculpt abstract sounds, musique concrète and noise into enigmatic, often cinematic and sometimes hallucinogenic soundscapes. The abundance of vintage, esoteric instruments does not affect the timeless atmosphere of «Wind Bells Falls», as Bertucci manipulates, distorts and morphs Lee’s sounds into unpredictable, fresh sonic entities. Moreover, the atmosphere of this album is surprisingly dreamy, but often it suggests twisted, claustrophobic and nightmarish dreams. There is a sense of reserved yet ironic playfulness in the layered dynamics of Lee and Bertucci, and both enjoy exploring adventurous, weird and dissonant sonic images and sceneries.

Both albums suggest Lee’s highly creative and personal musical language, challenging but joyful listening experiences. Lee’s sense of wonder about sounds, all sounds in any shape or form, is simply captivating.

Eyal Hareuveni

Robbie Lee (sopranino s, tuning forks with live electronics, celeste, baroque fl, gemshorn, contrabass recorder, orchestra chimes); Lea Bertucci (tapes and elec)

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