Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Thomas DeLio - Space / Image / Word / Sound: Surround Sound, Text And Video [Neuma Records]

This is an attempt on the impossible - a.k.a. the attempt to review a DVD release, one part of Neuma Records' initial attempt to bundle and publish the entire catalogue of long standing composer, performer, writer and music (as well as overall...) theorist Thomas DeLio who's been active on the circuit for the better part of 40 years now. With the format chosen to be able to represent the total of eight compositions in both stereo and surround sound variations as well as to incorporate video and collage art for the nearly 18 minutes spanning piece "Sam" the listening experience on headphones in front of a mostly black screen is quite an academic one, defined by sparse compositions, scattered, yet clearly sculpted sonic events divided by extended periods of near or total silence scurrying, whizzing and scampering through the stereo field whilst abstract, cut-up, oftentimes metallic pieces and layers of Spoken Word poetry provide additional context - or do they really? With drumrolls, large spatial reverbs and even a short ethereal soprano appearance in "Qu'un Espace / Separe" as well as taking advantage of three dimensional space as an additional instrument "Space / Image / Word /  Sound" is an album mostly catering to an audience schooled in and by experimental music and composition in an academia-leaning context, yet it seems that Thomas DeLio's music might be best experienced when performed live or played back as a sound installation taking place at high volume levels in vast and dimly lit warehouse, gallery or museum spaces.


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