Giuseppe Ielasi Stunt

[Schoolmap; 2008]

Styles: glitch, drone, turntablism
Others: Growing, Autechre, Philip Jeck, Black Dice

Before I go into detail about how disappointing this new release by Giuseppe Ielasi is, let me first say that I highly enjoyed both Gesine and his self-titled full-length. Both of those albums came out on the Swedish imprint Häpna, and they are fantastic. Given what I know about his work from those albums, I would normally liken it stylistically to artists like Tim Hecker and Philip Jeck. Stunt, however, marks a decidedly different approach. On this EP -- the first in a series to be released by Schoolmap -- Ielasi experiments with turntablism, borrowing sounds from a wealth of vinyl sources and appropriating them to create new glitch-oriented, minimal music. The result doesn’t sound too different from what Growing is doing these days.

To be sure, Ielasi’s previous works were somewhat ambient. Logic would suggest that if an artist can make engaging ambient music, then that artist should also be able to keep one's interest maintained when using a slightly larger array of sounds. When taken from the context of their original vinyl sources, the sounds here are mostly just pops and crackles of the vinyl itself, and nothing of the actual source music. It’s been shaped into seemingly random forms that may as well have no beginning and no end. There isn’t much to distinguish one part from another here, let alone one track from the next. If you were to listen to it without looking at the grooves in the vinyl, it would seem like one long track per side. In fact, none of the pieces even have titles; the album plays more like a documentation of a process than a crafted EP.

This isn’t to say that Stunt is completely without merit. At least Ielasi knows that he can’t keep making the same record over and over again. I certainly wouldn’t want him to either. I can't call it a step backwards, but it’s a step away from what we know he’s capable of doing well. If experience proves anything, artists like Ielasi will likely keep laboring over something until they feel they’ve reached an apex of what they can contribute to it. So, let’s give Giuseppe Ielasi some applause for that and hope his next EP for the series is a better articulation of his new approach.

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