Mem1: Alexipharmaca

Alexipharmaca presents a dozen electroacoustic settings by Mem1, a collaborative venture that combines the explorative cello playing of Laura Thomas-Merino with the electronic micro-sound atmospheres of laptop artist M. Cera. True to its improvised form, the pieces unfold in a perpetual, restless state of evolution, with the instruments advancing in tandem through multi-layered textures. The duo eschews ostentation for understated development in meditative and mysterious soundscapes that teem with M. Cera's simmering pulses, windswept creaks, and gravelly textures and Thomas-Merino's plucks, shudders, and guttural tones; the two similarly bypass conventional melody-based structures for mutating, organically-driven forms. Though unified in spirit, individual pieces exude differences in character, such as the remarkable insectoid setting “Lamarcai” and the ghostly “Aristolochia.” The title of Mem1's second full-length comes from a collection of poems about plant and animal poisons and their antidotes that was composed by ancient Greek pharmacologist Nicander of Colophon—a fitting choice, given the tension between surface beauty and underlying toxicity that often characterizes the material.

January 2007