Review: Giulio Aldinucci – Yellow Horse

Giulio Aldinucci - Yellow HorseYellow Horse is chaotically, vibrantly alive. Field recordings climb over strange bass frequencies, leap over puddles of synth, heed the commands of reversed voices. Unidentified noises recede into forests of yet more identified noises, as the stereo image heaves and contracts like a heart with many ventricles. Warped memories writhe over eachother like maggots, dented and crushed by the noises pressing in from all sides, wriggling through tiny gaps in the audio fabric. As I listen, I notice that my eyes are rapidly flitting left to right – a reflex tracing the source of every strange sound as they ping between the corners of my headphones, vanishing as quickly as I can question them. Through 29 minutes of intricate, restless sound design, Aldinucci plays out an imaginary scenario: what if our memories came leaping off the shelves of our mind, flooding the brain with every sensory snapshot from childhood until now, too thick and fast to comprehend?

I can only guess at the original context of these sounds. There’s a brief dog bark in the background, perhaps captured during a vacation to rural France in the 90s. That sudden, echo-drenched cough? Maybe it was recorded while exploring a cave a few years back; a trip dogged by the effects of a stubborn winter flu. The clatter of cutlery – a cramped family gathering last summer, notable for its elaborate lunch buffet spread. Who knows. These memories are forced to jostle with times and spaces with which they hold no contextual relation; children play under the bleat of a tannoy system, synth drones swarm over shopping mall ambience like a sudden and ominous fog, autumn leaves crunch under foot as doorbells rattle inside their plastic casing. Somehow, amidst the jumble of abstract musical idea and manic recollection, the piece exudes a certain structural beauty. If I treat them as constructions of sonic shape and colour – devoid of context – then the thousands of components to Yellow Horse slot together seamlessly, finding collaborative kinship in the raw characteristics of rhythm and frequency. Yet to do so is to ignore the wonderful manner in which Aldinucci pretzels time and space. As such, I must listen with two minds simultaneously.