Review: Roberto Opalio – Aurōra Coelestis

Roberto Opalio - Aurōra CoelestisA delay effect splays Opalio’s glockenspiel into tiny droplets, and I imagine 1000 glass beads tumbling upon a table; little plops of attack and a multitude singing resonances catching all colours of light. If I soften my senses it begins to resemble a gracious gush from a water tap, gleaming as it kisses the ceramic. Reality is blurred both gently and generously. I hear the impact of Opalio’s mallet emerge and recede, creating the illusion that my eyes are falling in and out of focus – no sooner have a registered the composite of micro-particles than they have all melted into a liquid cascade, beautiful and playful in their dance between transparency and translucency.

At certain moments the glockenspiel is frozen in time: a single note dragged into a ghostly drone. It stops cascading and starts twirling like a spinning top sustaining itself independently, trading between shivering overtones as it tilts precariously off balance for micro-seconds at a time. By this point I know the glockenspiel intimately; I roll it across my palm like a wedding ring, knowing its shape and texture as well as I know my own fingers and toes, attuning myself to the microscopic ripples that act like Morse code traded between the various strands of the instrument’s tonal makeup.

As the 30-minute title track transits into “Hic Et Nunc”, the water turns from crystal-cold to piping hot. I’m released into a falsetto vocal wormhole of endless delay and chicanes of pitch adjustment, stuck halfway down a tube that bends and bulges, shedding human shape as the drone drifts further and further from Opalio’s vocalising mouth. The piece ends after seven minutes but the implication is clear. An alien is forming.