Review: Andrea Belfi – Natura Morta

Andrea Belfi - Natura MortaBelfi is a permeable performer. He doesn’t react to his surroundings but embodies them, incorporating them into his drumming, becoming a translucent presence through which the soundscape is refracted delicately. I can imagine his sticks fluttering deftly through the synthesiser mist, slipping in and out of visibility as soft organs and searing lens flare pass between him and I. I feel utterly still. The music is unhurried, accumulating under the red glow of unwavering concentration, as swift, ticking ghost hits hang where the passing of time used to be. All the while, the room feels becomes increasingly hot – a sauna thickening with gasiform sound layers, throbbing and dispersing.

At times – particularly during the second piece – Belfi’s percussive fixation seems to be powering up strange machines on either side of him. Flickering cymbals giving rise to whirrs of electronic standby, droning as display screens surge dimly into life, striking up microtonal friction with the noises of neighbouring appliances. Suddenly, a shift: a chime announces an immediate change in atmosphere, as room temperature slips and time cranks into a lower gear. Claustrophobic impatience is sucked out of a newly opened window and fresh, nighttime oxygen floods through me. The beat switches from fluttering high frequencies to toms that tumble sporadically like rocks. Transitions are rare and that makes them beautiful, inverting gravity just at the point that the listener ceases to question it. A rich meditation on stillness and its disruption.