Italian flutist Manuel Zurria’ loops4ever is a double CD of wide-ranging interpretations of modern composers. This release has a definite sense of place (geographically and historically) and Zurria displays a lightness of touch within his interpretations, showing an instinctual understanding of the aesthetic considerations underlying the compositions. Some of these pieces were originally written for the Trombone (Frederic Rzewski’ “Last Judgement’), or are goaded and stuttered along by vocal tics emanating from nervous boom boxes (“The Garden of Love’ and “Lipstick’ by Jacob Ter Veldhuis). Uneasy drones and ear piercing pure waves are held up for comparison against angry piccolos, as on John Duncan and Clarence Barlow’ works, or massaged by a phalanx of flutes, shaping the overwrought textures into a somewhat soporific stasis.
The twelve tracks spread across two discs are all intrinsically minimalist in aesthetic and intent, even the hyper-kinetic frictions of Ter Veldhuis, are bolted together from a scarcity of inputs. Manuel Zurria really hits my spiritual soft spot when interpreting the “Holy Minimalists’ like Terry Riley’ “Dorian Reeds’, composed around the same time as “In C’ and the Mogadon-slow vocals (that I assume are reciting the poet Emily Dickinson, as referred to in the liner notes), from Pauline Oliveros’ “Portrait’. Spectrally inhabiting a similar zone to these elder statespersons of the drone and the loop is the warm melancholia of William Basinski’ “Variation#6: A Movement in Chrome Primitive’, complete with Temple Bells and sprinkled with delay.
Listening late last night, with a lovely new pair of expensive Germanic headphones, whilst an electrical storm spluttered and thundered overhead, loops4ever made perfect sense in a rarefied window of time. A delightful stillness and introspection akin to meditation. Travelling without moving, Alvin Lucier’ “Almost New York’ unhurriedly wends its way, in thrall only to the composition’s internal machinations and those of a sensitive and technically gifted musician and interpreter.