“The Waste Land” reviewed by Exclaim!

There are times when the creative process is enriched by limitations. The challenge to produce meaningful work within the confines of this or that restriction can be inspiring; under certain circumstances, it can even define the work.

A fine example of this is Luca Forcucci’s The Waste Land, in which the internationally recognized artist and researcher takes a six-minute field recording from a documentary film he’s never seen and turns it into a 37-minute soundtrack. Forcucci’s WordPress site attributes the project to his interest in “perception, subjectivity and consciousness,” and lists the great avant-garde composer and musician Pauline Oliveros as a key inspiration.

Fans of her work will feel right at home in Forcucci’s new soundscape. Beautifully recorded (and mastered by Taylor Deupree), these three pieces reflect a mature, refined artistic voice that’s been recording since 2000.

The cassette’s title track launches into a white noise/heavy industry combo right from the start, followed by a delicious electronic hum. There’s no aggression here, though; the sounds are passive, sort of half-lazy. It’s just another day at the office, even if you can’t fathom what kind of hellish workplace this piece invites you to inhabit. “Voices from the Coal Mine” has a similar feel, as banging metal overpowers non-descript PA announcements, making for the album’s harshest work. Counter-intuitively, “My Extra Personal Space” takes the listener outside, and treats us to church bells, birdsong and running water. It’s a lovely contrast to the oppressiveness of the previous two tracks.

If there’s a complaint to be lodged, it’s that the work lacks an obvious musicality. But then, that’s hardly the point. The Waste Land is a success, despite — or perhaps as a result of — how little the artist had to begin with. Kevin Press

via Exclaim

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