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Best of 2022

Lea Bertucci, Ben Vida

Murmurations (LP)

Label: Cibachrome

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

In stock

Tip! Comprising 10 tracks of creative expression, veteran experimentalists, Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci, deliver “Murmurations”, their first release as a duo, incorporating live tape manipulation, modular synthesis, sampling, and real-time instrumental and vocal improvisation, into a joyous tapestry of playful, boundary blurring sound.

Longstanding figures in New York City experimental music scene - both noted for pushing electroacoustic music into highly individualized realms - Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci began collaborating during the Summer of 2021, while living on opposite sides of the same mountain outside of Woodstock, NY. What began as a series of conversations between friends, slowly formed into the development of a unique form of nonhierarchical improvisation that challenged and rethought the nature of dialog and language itself; intertwining their respective practices into a series of fluid compositions where the identities and locations of each artist become progressively obscure.

Issued by Bertucci’s Cibachrome Editions, “Murmurations” is the first culmination of this process. Comprising six instrumental works, as well as four that place both artists’ long-standing engagement with the human voice, the album presents a fascinating, uncharted position between the efforts of experimental vocalists like Joan La Barbara, Katalin Ladik, Jeanne Lee, and Linda Sharrock, musique concrète, sound poetry, free improvisation, and electroacoustic music; abstractions and deconstructions of language that form an ecosystem unto themselves.

A deeply interior, human music that confounds the expected relationship between improvisers, “Murmurations” is a dazzling series of crisscrosses; each artist challenging perceptions of identity, temporality, and location by placing aspects of themselves in the other’s hands. Giving these moments form, is the duo’s unique approach to instruments and electronics. Rather than exclusively utilizing oscillators, Vida’s modular synth often manipulates pre-recorded samples of Bertucci playing bass clarinet, sax, and wooden flute; rendering his own image as a warped mirror - in and out of time, and in and out of harmony - of the artist with whom he converses. Against this, Bertucci’s real-time tape manipulation - addressing the artefacts of both artists simultaneously - further abstracts senses of who, what, and where, while her practice of over-amplification - capturing, in addition to tones and timbres, the discrete sounds occurring within the chambers of her instruments - constantly reimagines and reinvents their possibilities, identity, and scope.

More than any other feature, it is the sense of exuberant experimentation and playfulness that defines “Murmurations”, two artists lost in conversation, propelling textures, tones, fragments, and utterances rippling through ambience drenched spaces, as though searching deeper and deeper within a cave for the root of human communication through sound. Across this series of electroacoustic works, Vida and Bertucci shift between compositions centered around their own vocalizations and instrumental pieces, deconstructing each sound element - vocal, instrumental, electronic - through intervention and action, to an elemental form. Relational in process as much structure, creating a striking equivalency between each, the resulting abstractions - bubbling and scrapping within the open air - continuously challenge the terms of conversation, collaboration, and improvisation with a youthful sense of glee.

“Murmurations” is issued by Cibachrome Editions on vinyl in two editions, the standard vinyl LP edition of 500 copies with custom artwork by Pittsburgh based artist, Erin Womack, a special silk-screened poster of album artwork, and a download code for the full album. The poster will also be available to purchase on its own.
Cat. number: CE3
Year: 2022

Recorded by Ben Vida and Lea Bertucci
Edited and mixed by Ben Vida
Mastered by Andreas Lupo
Album Artwork by Erin Womack