Lea Bertucci Resonant Field

[NNA Tapes; 2019]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: Leibniz and the saxophone
Others: Terry Riley, Joseph Shabason, Ariel Kalma

Resonant Field is apocalyptic. It teems with the whispers of the coming storm, fears of the unknown in the face of unparalleled terror, as the Earth probes ever deeper into how it can rid itself of the disease known as humanity. The saxophone has rarely been used as a conduit by which artists craft a portrait of the coming plagues, but it is Lea Bertucci’s compositional acumen that propels the instrument from a mere tool into a vessel of sheer resonance.

Her biography details her as a “sound artist whose work bridges performance, installation, and multichannel activations of acoustic space.” On Resonant Field, this idea is amplified by the choice of recording location. Silo City, a grain elevator complex in Buffalo, sits as the monolith by which Bertucci activates the contrast of space and place, combining her alto saxophone with the cavernous metallurgy. It’s a situation where the work can’t be separated from its original habitat.

What comprises Resonant Field takes place both on our Earthly plane and in a metaphysical area, not beholden to normal rules. The focus here is, of course, on spatial awareness, yet there remains an eerie sense of unbeing, suited for an intuition that the universe wants Bertucci to be playing these exact notes, at this exact location. It is simultaneously chaotic and controlled, a production trying to be unbounded, straining against its masters while causing endless friction.

Unlike her previous release Metal Aether, Resonant Field is much less fevered, unclustered musically. Bertucci lets the playing and its atmospheres speak for themselves, and it results in an arresting listen. The compositions transition and grow with you, a testament to how Bertucci utilizes the temporality of what is being played and what it can conjure in both musician and listener. By this method, Resonant Field is endless.

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