Review: Ezramo – come ho imparato a volare

Ezramo has found herself present on both of Corvo Record’s debut releases. But while PopeWAFFEN calls upon her abilities to interact and improvise with a stark variety of other performers, come ho imparato a volare allows her to occupy a space all of her own. The voice she adopts in this opening statement for Corvo is a quiet one – unimposing, barely extending beyond her own audibility radius, making a subtle and modest imprint on those who wish to listen.

On opener “Le Jeux Sont Faits”, plucked zither strings shimmer like the glacial bells, while blues harp and vocals veer in and out. The whole thing seems to sway unstably back and forth, with the dry and slightly lo-fi nature of the recording bringing a sort of voyeuristic intimacy to the listening experience. In contrast, the chimes and vocal hums of “Larve Giovani” feel less internalized – they sound like ritual chants from a consumed mind, reaching out for gods beyond the stars, yearning to be astrally projected out of the atmosphere. The sounds of actual larvae stirring into life are also featured on this track, and correlate appropriately with the underlying sense of spiritual awakening.

These are the album’s two most expressive and interesting cuts. The following track (“Un Pianoforte Solitario”) succeeds in exhibiting another side to Ezramo – almost like a solemn, nostalgic memory of childhood, conveyed through a brittle and simplistic piano piece – but it jars with the looser forms of expression seen elsewhere, and doesn’t carry the same sense of raw emotional build-up. The unsynchronised vocal rounds of “Last Canone Before Flying” make for a similar case. Ezramo’s voice is piled on top of itself until the melody is drowned beneath a cascade of voices, descending into insignificance as each new layer competes with those before. It’s an interesting effect to begin with, but simply doesn’t penetrate with the same emotional drive.

Elsewhere, the clouds of aggravated distortion of “Dreaming in the Cocoon” provide a neat interlude (reprising the recordings of larvae), while “Singing in the Night of the Resurrection” tucks the triumphant sound of an Italian easter procession inside traffic noise, public chatter and various other field recordings, taking come ho imparato a volare to a mournful close. The latter acts as a gentle departure – while it feels deeply entwined in the mind of its creator (just as with the rest of these pieces), it sounds like a mere distant memory, as though signifying the listening experience’s impending status as an object of the past. A quietly intriguing album, and a gentle success.