Tip - this is stunning! Since their launch in mid-2000s, the New York based imprint, Unseen Worlds, has continued to set an incredibly high bar through the earth-shaking quality of their releases. As dedicated to historical artists and works as they are to those emerging in the present, they’ve always taken their time, slipping things into the world with remarkable care, that leave humble tectonic shifts in their wake. After an absolutely incredible couple of years with brilliant albums from Laurie Spiegel, Sam Ashley, Werner Durand, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Leo Svirsky, Carl Stone, Robert Haigh, Philip Corner, and others, their latest, Mi Specchio e Rifletto, a stunning body of solo work from the Italian Violinist, performer and improviser, Silvia Tarozzi, keeps the fire burning. Truly inspiring, it’s an album that skirts any easy location, has kept us coming back for more since falling into our hands, and is an absolute must.
A talented free improvisor and shining light of Italy’s incredible avant-garde and experimental music scene, Silvia Tarozzi is one of those rare and wonderful artists who spent the majority of her career channeling her sensitivity and remarkable talents behind the rendering of the work of others, notably, as longtime collaborator, Eliane Radigue, as well as Pauline Oliveros, Pascale Criton, Cassandra Miller, Martin Arnold, Philip Corner, Jürg Frey, Michael Pisaro, Catherine Lamb, Sébastien Roux, and many others. Remarkably, for all her years in the game, Mi Specchio e Rifletto is Tarozzi’s first full length to entirely comprise of her own compositions, and what a debut it is! Astoundingly ambitious and visionary - pushing well beyond comfort zones and easy categorisation - it’s hard to imagine she won’t stay locked in every listener's mind after the first turn.
With sonic touchstones in ambitious efforts like Scott Walker’s first 4 LPs, Franco Battiato’s Fetus, Maria Monti’s Il Bestiario, and Caterina Caselli’s Primavera, coupled with a deep sense of intimacy that bears relation to the ideas of Pauline Oliveros and Eliane Radigue, Mi Specchio e Rifletto is a towering piece of work. Initially inspired by the poet Alda Merini and Tarozzi’s studies with composer Garret List, over the course of nearly a decade, Tarozzi practiced setting the poetry of Merini to music, before replacing it with her own to reflect her own life experiences; her words touching on the subjects of love, motherhood, and the mystery hidden behind the curtain of everyday life. The result is an interplay and balance of vocals, instrumentation - acoustic and electronic - and ideas the likes of which have rarely been heard.
Sprawling in scope, Mi Specchio e Rifletto might be most easily regarded as an effort of experimental, balladic pop that eludes to infinitely more. Deeply emotive vocals dance with a vast spectrum of sounds, from minimal, ambient, and discrete, to symphonic in density and scope, rising a gripping journey of sonorous experience - an inner world with the windows thrown wide open - that transcends the limits of the spoken word, mirroring a deeply feminine, mystical, and sometimes psychedelic vision of the world. A profoundly inspiring and truly singular piece of work that sets new bars for what we might imagine is possible in the contemporary landscape of sound, Mi Specchio e Rifletto continues to unfold in creative scope and intimacy with every listen, and has left our jaws on floor at every turn. An absolutely stunning debut by Tarozzi, and yet another high-water mark to emerge from the hands of Unseen Worlds. This one is making waves and not be missed.