Ben Vida & Lea Bertucci


Cibachrome Editions • 2022

Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci have a strong reputation in New York’s experimental music scene. You can hear this clearly on their album »Murmurations«, which shuns classic song structures like the devil shuns holy water and instead prefers to indulge in partly introspective, partly expressive slights of hand. The fact that this sounds hardly at all self-contented and modest, but rather quite interesting, is due to the different levels of intensity that the duo is prepared to bring to the table. »Ghost Pipes« as the third track, for example, produces a tinny cascade out of the headphones, which continuously changes its state of aggregation and from time to time is ploughed through by ghostly – the title is fitting – brass sections, which seek direction in the fog. This only rarely comes across as accessible; for the entire duration of the playing time, you imagine that you are in an art installation; for example, the soundscape is vaguely reminiscent of Philipp Sollmann’s and Konrad Sprenger’s project Monophonie. Enthralling, a term used in an inflationary sense in the context of art, but here exceptionally applicable, also echoes on »The Flared Margin«, which at the beginning continues to captivate with manual drumming that reverberates for an extended period, but then unfurls into an imposing, standing bass roll towards the end, which represents a welcome change. Otherwise, sine tones and white noise do the honours, but fortunately they are not designed to hurt the listener. Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci’s experimental approach does not evoke catatonic states, but subtly overwhelms.