Alio Die :: Deconsecrated and Pure (Projekt)

Despite all these layers, the tone is light as air and the air is illuminated with dazzling rays of light. The pleasant cadences that caress the ear belie the meticulous arrangement Musso invests in his five mystery tableaux—his detailed construction of repeating, slowly shapeshifting motifs is nothing short of miraculous.

Alio Die ‘Deconsecrated and Pure’

[Release page] Stefano Musso has been retro-soundscaping the late Middle Ages and dawn of the Renaissance all by himself, especially in the last few years with works such as Il Giardino Ermeneutico, La Sala Dei Cristalli and Horas Tibi Serenas. In a cosmology that stemmed back to the ancient Greeks, the Medieval earth nestled at the very centre, as a perfectly-proportioned universe revolved gently around it. According to this perception, the heavens were immutable and harmonious while the earth was transient and corruptable. Thus mankind strove to create works of great beauty and symmetry to bring order to the world, and to please God by doing so.

Recordinig for nearly a quarter-century under the name Alio Die, few electronic composers work as bewitchingly with acoustic sound sources as Musso. Here he has processed and layered vocal pieces by 16th century Venetian composer Claudio Merulo as performed by the Quoniam Ensemble di Dulciane and De Labyrintho Ensemble Della Rinascenza. Fragments of choir song and small early-music ensemble both rich and pellucid metamorphose from straightforward recording to abstract clouds of unknowing as they are treated, looped and looped again, and augmented with Musso’s electronics and field recordings.

Despite all these layers, the tone is light as air and the air is illuminated with dazzling rays of light. The pleasant cadences that caress the ear belie the meticulous arrangement Musso invests in his five mystery tableaux—his detailed construction of repeating, slowly shapeshifting motifs is nothing short of miraculous. The middle track, “Peel Away This Mortal Coil,” is the earthiest piece, full of reeds and pipes and donkey bells, perhaps one of those day-long village fests of fools and misrule.

Why deconsecrated and pure? Maybe Alio Die, our contemporary, turns the ancient worldview upside-down, having embraced as we have the evidence that the heavens roil and constantly expand, while it is we puny humans who are capable of creating purity and symmetry out of our robust, if not individually eternal, mortality.

Deconsecrated and Pure is available on Projekt. [Release page]

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