PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE: Illumina Tenebras (2013)
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
“Experimental EM, the challenge of Illumina Tenebras is very daring. But we are having some very good moments in it”
1 Illumina Tenebras 45:19
2 Tur Vinum 24:55
(CD-R/DDL 70:14) (V.F.)
(Ambient, experimental theatrical EM)
The universe of contemporary and experimental music of Perceptual Defence serves the cause to contemporary dance evenings. Shows in sounds and movements where the Italian synthesist draws his music in the footsteps of contemporary dancers. Recorded during the Butô ritual dance performances, given in Italy in the summer of 2013, ILLUMINA TENEBRAS sounds like a communion between art and music. Gabriele Quirici harmonizes his music with the graceful movements of the dancers whose impulses as elegant as devious cast dark shadows which float in heavy ambient phases, as exult and blunt the hectic rhythms whose tornadoes always end up not embracing the contemplative sweetness of movements become more seraphic. So, from ambient phases to frenzied rhythms, the music of ILLUMINA TENEBRAS crosses the penumbra to illuminate the ambiences of chants as colorful than the tinkling of chimes.
Recorded on June 22 in the city of Scarzuola, during a contemporary dance show depicting the life of St-François d'Assise, Illumina Tenebras is well anchored in its dark sound cocoon. There where the unfathomable winds are roaring . A symphony of hollow winds, of which the velocity lifts a swarm tone prisms, opens these first minutes. Fine subtleties in the speed of winds crawling in the corridors of the chthonian sub-soils, as much as in their forms and their colors, bring out the long sound saga of the title-track towards some bewitching changes of phases where the sepulchral breezes become long sighs of a ghostly choir. The movement is slow, without rhythm, with winds which become breezes and finally rustles of mass whose sinister singings whisper solitude. These singings create a musical world by lifting prismic particles which little by little become breathless and change sound skins to become some soft chirpings of birds of which the beatings of wings try to get them out from the chinks of darkness. The breezes turn silent and a crack in the darkness is made. Now, seraphic voices accompany the magnetic birdsongs. From darkness to light, the somber movement of Illumina Tenebras gets out of its shadows to embrace the soft rays of life with a passive choir and its papal chants which plunge us in a quiet meditative state of mind. Eddies, caused by blades of synth which get entangled like a pile of grey clouds, darken the latent morphic phase and create the first rhythmic movement of Illumina Tenebras. It's a spheroidal beat where we swirl more that we move, with synth layers which whirl like static winds. Winds which drop sonic strands which illuminate a passive tornado where the black and the white, the darkness and the light are bickering the last minutes of a spiral which finally chases away all ambiguity and leads Illumina Tenebras towards a very beautiful seraphic finale. Up to the doors of serenity, where the babbling of children goes hand in hand with Jean François D'Assise's aura. It's very theatrical and, although less violent, and it reminds me the music of Jean-Pierre Thanès.
The music, as well as the ambiences, of Tur Vinum turns around an old Etruscan ritual. Recorded on July 6th in Toscana, the music is clearly livelier than on Illumina Tenebras. It's also less dark with chirpings of birds and their paradisiacal serenades which flutter inside heavy synth lines with colorful tones of carillons. A meshing of sequences and electronic percussions drum a strange heathen dance. Their rollings resound in synth lines draw with strange angelic singings this time. Technically, it's a kind of tornado which takes shape here with tam-tams and carillons which ring and resound in fluty singings. The movement becomes anarchic, even violent. It swirls vigorously with gurgling which invite themselves in this dance. An infernal dance where the elements which turn around lose all rhythmic senses but remain charmingly coherent, while the melody, weaved in celestial and childish harmonies, becomes little by little an earworm that will haunt once again the storm of percussions and sequences, of which the rumbling increases subtly and will reach its nirvana of tranquillity. This is a great moment in ILLUMINA TENEBRAS. And there, the ethereal and meditative moods will rest the feet of the dancers whom we imagine floating between the shadows and their reflections. And the finale adopts a little bit the soft seraphic moments of Illumina Tenebras with carillons and lines of synth which sing in harmony with serenity.
Between twilights and lights, between devout and its devils, between the morphic ambiences of dreams shaded by darkness and rhythms of heathen dances which crush the bones of feet to turn them to dust; the music of ILLUMINA TENEBRAS flirts with all the paradoxes of the contemporary dance and its high-wire moves which exceed the imagination of the most demanding choreographers. The challenge of Perceptual Defence is very daring, because to put in our ears a music which finds its strength in the movements of its antagonists is far from being obvious. Even by closing eyes and by giving way, we don't even reach the mood, the spirit of it. But we are having some very good moments, especially with the explosive Tur Vinum. For lovers of experimental and visionary contemporary EM.
Sylvain Lupari (March 16th, 2014) ***½**
Available at SynGate Bandcamp