Fabio Orsi: Winterreise

On Winterreise, Japanese label Slow Flow's second CD release, Italian electronic musician Fabio Orsi uses guitar, effects, and old keyboards to generate the production's six untitled parts. An overall mood of serenity permeates the fifty-minute composition, even if a brief hint of struggle appears near the end of part one when some of its elements fight to break free of the mass. The material unfurls patiently, initially emerging from a haze of fog to which it will return in the final section. During the recording, rivulets of guitar-generated sound swell into a multi-layered ambient mass of metallic sheets and washes, at times the methodically picked and strummed guitar elements faintly audible within the amorphous whole. There are subtle contrasts between the parts, however. If nothing disturbs the becalmed splendour of part two, the fourth could be characterized as brooding and apprehensive. Joined by tranquil guitar shadings and a gentle piano motif, field recordings of beachside adults and children figure prominently in part three, while five churns in a more epic and aggressive manner. Despite such contrasts, the oft-pretty Winterreise generally exudes a lustrous calm that can't help but have a soothing effect on the listener.

June 2010