Review: Giuseppe Ielasi, “(third) Stunt”

Giuseppe presents an extraordinarily sucessful and ecumenical set of turntable jams on the third and final EP in his Stunt trilogy. With fragmented samples bent into dance cadences and abrupt vocalizations serving as melodic leads, (third) Stunt smacks of both Oval’s glitch-worship and Autechre’s cold symmetries circa Tri Repetae. More soulful than either, Ielasi stays ahead of his influences by injecting his signature ambient glow into the mix and by adding a touch of dubstep grit.

The first song on (third) Stunt’s first side features a familiar, almost taunting melody, not unlike a group of kids singing “nyah nyah nyah” to each other. Instead of singing children, Ielasi utilizes a squeaky, trumpet-like tone to generate the effect (think of the duh duh duh melodies from Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker”). Behind it, a comical series of abruptly cut samples skip and jump unevenly, obeying the meter of a mostly inaudible mother pulse. Scratches, imperfect edits, breathing, and other vocal noises join this unlikely orchestra and, by the song’s end, emulate the sounds of a grade school playground during recess, with the kids playing Double Dutch jump rope acting as impromptu conductors.

Later songs take on a more serious tone; one is almost threatening and features the kind of atmosphere Burial frequently achieves, while another is at least superficially personal and employs a naive, somewhat innocent melody for the lead part. But the same “anything-goes” approach that characterizes the first song persists through all the rest. Odd and ghostly voices float through the second side’s second piece to the tune of a harp and garbage audio, and the concluding song uses resonant drums, chants, and conversational noise as accompaniment for a melody shared between a synthesizer and a piano. Hints of industrial cacophony also figure into the mix, but Ielasi never uses his sample-based approach as an excuse to indulge in noise or unmetered improv. Instead, he quietly guides his army of instruments through a loose dance, giving them equal chance to play and to obey his orders. Consequently, the entire record exhibits a unique organic vibe quite unlike anything produced by Oval, Autechre, or Burial.

Adding to the record’s many charms and virtues is its brevity. Ielasi clearly had a vision going into this project, and he executes it concisely. Some songs, especially the first and last, end just as they’re hitting their stride. Giuseppe gives them only the time they need to develop, then he ends them unceremoniously and moves on. That sense of economy is elemental to (third) Stunt’s excellence and a major contributor to its endless replayability.

A digital download of (third) Stunt is available from Dekorder
The original review appeared at Brainwashed.com – there are no sound samples available for this release

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