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FORMA

Following hot on the heels of his recent mini-album for Elephant Gait, Italian producer Joseph Tagliabue is back with a full-length album on Glasgow's Invisible, Inc.

With “Un' Altra Forma Di Vibrazioni” Tagliabue continues to expand on the cosmic foundations laid by such pioneering experimental forefathers as Franco Battiato and his ground-breaking abstract ambient work of the '70s and Klaus Schultze whose legendary Innovative Communications label birthed the Berlin School sound at the start of the '80s, then tracing a path toward later luminaries like Boards of Canada and Plaid. There's a personal, emotive and ethereal quality also present here conjuring feelings of 4AD's glory years and the likes of This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance. However, backwards-looking music this is not. It's fair to say the Milan-based producer is developing his very own distinct sound as he matures from one release to the next and regardless of his wide range of influences, it's Tagliabue's firm grasp of sound design and audio engineering that takes this album far beyond the realm of just electronica or psychedelia and plants it firmly into a distinctly forward-looking contemporary space of its very own that's as much music for the heart as it is music for the head.

Tagliabue provides some insight: ‘“Un' Altra Forma Di Vibrazioni” (meaning ‘another form of vibration in Italian’) is a concept album inspired by one of the most sensational scientific discoveries of recent years, namely evidence of the existence of the Cosmic Web. The album is comprised of ten tracks, each linked to one another, much like the various forms of matter in the cosmic web, and whose meaning can only be understood by listening to them as a collective whole, rather than as separate pieces of music. The album therefore is a well constructed sonic experience fusing elements of ambient, psych, rock, experimental and trance and is designed to be listened to continuously from start to finish; the album's journey through the universal elements is reflected in each track, whose rhythms resonate in harmony with the phenomena they represent, whilst a backdrop of drones and mesmeric grooves contribute to an atmosphere of otherworldly mechanical oneirism.’


TRACK LISTING

A1. Materia Visible
A2. Materia Oscura
A3. Galassie Lontane
A4. Gas E Polveri
B1. Energia Radiante
B2. Vuoti Giganti
B3. Velocita Orbitale
B4. Forza Gravitazionale
B5. Filamenti Cosmici 

Brooklyn trio Forma’s latest LP continues their mission to “broaden the idea of what an electronic music ensemble can sound like.” Semblance emerged from exploratory sessions at The Schoolhouse, the Bushwick loft where members Mark Dwinell and John Also Bennett live, then was tracked at Gary’s Electric studios, where their previous album Physicalist was also recorded.

Inspired by polyrhythmic composition, the human voice, and conceptual improvisation strategies, the songs are striking in their textural detail and emotional nuance, alternately synthetic and sentient, futuristic and intuitive. Incorporating flute, piano, guitar, saxophone, acoustic drums and cymbals alongside an array of synthesizers, the record persuasively demonstrates the group’s unique playing abilities and fluid chemistry – attributes they credit to “techniques we’ve developed to trick our electronic machines into mimicking the spontaneous character of live instruments.”

Members George and John Also Bennett also cite as an influence their recent stint in minimalist composer Jon Gibson’s ensemble, performing his 1973 proto-ambient masterwork Visitations. The long- form modal piece requires restraint and deep listening to execute, qualities especially apparent in the more muted moments of Semblance, such as “Rebreather” and “New City.”

The group states the intent of the new album as “to be more direct and exacting”, which it is. Over half a decade spent writing and recording together has distilled Forma’s hybrid electro-acoustic interplay into an attuned and astounding language, capable of articulating impossible symmetries and reflective states.
The stunning visuals of the artwork are by frequent collaborator of the group Peter Burr. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: I can't remember a week THIS good for instrumental synth music for a long time, and now to add to the excellence, we have a new one from forma. Finely structured cosmic melodies, perfectly produced to weave its way into your consciousness. Sit back and zone out.

TRACK LISTING

1. Crossings
2. Ostinato
3. Three / Two
4. Rebreather
5. Cut-Up
6. New City
7. Ascent 

Physicalist is the third album from New York City synthesis trio Forma. Since their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats.

Physicalist is a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries.

The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.

Formed in 2010 by Mark Dwinell in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Forma released their first two full-length LPs on John Elliot’s influential Editions Mego imprint, Spectrum Spools. Physicalist is the first full-length statement from the new lineup, which also includes founding member and percussionist George Bennett.

The double LP contains two distinct halves; the first consisting of rhythmic compositions derived from the trio’s formidable array of modular and vintage synthesizers, and the second breaking from the grid with ambient, free-flowing experiments on piano, flute and acoustic percussion. The album marks a departure from Cool Haptics, the group’s techno-leaning 2014 EP on The Bunker New York.

Physicalist takes its title from physicalism, the philosophical belief that all phenomena in the universe are created entirely from physical interactions. Using a synthesizer as its foundation, kosmische music turns algorithms into art by investigating infinite possibilities within a set of physical parameters. The electronic composer Laurie Spiegel once suggested that a looped algorithmic sequence could go on forever, and as long as humans were able to interact with it, it would never cease to interest us. This is the bedrock of improvisation, and it is from this vantage point that Forma have created Physicalist, an American kosmische music in which a boundless voyage gives way to a structured environment—a programmed jazz with the grid as guidepost. “We’re not interested in providing an escapism for people,” says member Mark Dwinell, “We want to instead connect with people through a vigilantly monitored present. To us, that real moment, shed of any fancy, is just as divine.”


STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: One of my absolute favourites, Forma. I remember hearing their self-titled debut album many moons ago and being equally blown away by their follow-up Off/On. This one is just as mindblowing. Kosmische synthplay and driven motorik rhythms abound, chirping pads and reverb-soaked arpeggios come together into a beautiful and melodic scree. The latter half of the album is more ambient, focused on acoustics more than electronics but with the unmistakeable sound they've become known for. Another brilliant showing, and an essential for any electronic music fans.

TRACK LISTING

1. Collapse Of Materialists
2. Sane Man
3. Spin Glass
4. Ghosts
5. Maxwell’s Demon
6. Descent
7. Wanderer Imitates A Cloud
8. As If Pianos Grew On Trees
9. Collapse Of Materialists 2
10. Physicalist
11. Improvisation For Flute And Piano


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