Po: The Sound of Summer Silence

Born near Copenhagen about eighteen years ago, Daniel Porcelli (Po) is either one exceptionally gifted wunderkind (inspired by Styrofoam, Manual, and Múm, he began experimenting with computer music at the age of fifteen) or the computer technologies currently being ravished by prodigious music-makers of his ilk are serving as remarkable midwives in the creative process—probably a combination of both applies in this case (Porcelli apparently creates his music with a modest arsenal of laptop, acoustic instruments, and voice that excludes software synths and plug-ins). It's hard not to get caught up in such age-related issues when someone so young issues a debut full-length like The Sound of Summer Silence that's so polished.

The sincerity and innocence of Po's music is refreshing, and the absence of irony isn't unwelcome either, with titles alone (“Morning Poem,” “Floating Against the Stream,” etc.) telling the album's story. Crunchy electronic beats, bright filigrees of acoustic guitar, tinkling bells, harp-like strums, cellos (simulated, presumably) all come together in ten folktronic evocations. Bookended by “At Last,” which blossoms brilliantly into a paradise of electronic gleam and shudder, and “Broken Fingers,” which revisits the church-like sparkle of the opener, the album isn't all bucolic delicacy. The title song is dominated by blinding waves of psychedelia and sputter while lightning flashes of electric guitars appear during “Ten One.” The album's most distinctive piece is arguably “A Tree in the Palm of My Hand” where breathy stutters by angelic sirens murmur alongside tinkling keyboard melodies and bells. Fittingly, The Sound of Summer Silence quietens near album's end to allow the quiet flutter of an outdoors insect to be heard. One sometimes hears traces of Manual's epic grandeur in Po's music, but the material is surprisingly less derivative than one might have expected. Admittedly, the album distinguishes itself more in the area of textural sound design than compositional writing but nonetheless remains a release that earns its recommendation.

September 2007