Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bernocchi, Budd & Guthrie: Winter Garden

Eraldo Bernocchi (electronics)
Harold Budd (piano)
Robin Guthrie (guitars)
Winter Garden (RareNoise Records; 2012)

It's easy to describe this work as another successful collaboration between ethereal/ambient masters; but on Eraldo Bernocchi's latest, Winter Garden, you might find a little twist in the ambient theory.

Bernocchi, known as a multi-instrumentalist and sound designer of installations, has worked with a variety of musicians including Bill Laswell, Thomas Fehlmann (of The Orb) and avant garde jazz band Zu, to name just a few.

On Winter Garden, Bernocchi's direction starts out like previous collaborations between these three men. "Don't Go Where I Can't Find You" glides and swirls gently to Budd's delicately tempered notes and Guthrie's textured guitar lines. Bernocchi's adds a balanced dose rhythmic harmony just below the washes of sounds. "Entangled" is where Bernocchi takes a clearer direction. Beginning in a deeper register with a structure chordal baseline, effective bouncing against Guthrie's guitars and Budd's almost balladry approach gives this a shimmering and beautiful effectiveness.

"Stay With Me" is the more lyrical of the pieces on Winter Garden. Exploring a more dense prospect than the rest of the session, Bernocchi drives the tune along in pulsating fashion. Even providing a small bit of beats towards the end that could suggest the perfect point for an extended club version at some point (funny, eh?). "South Of Heaven" is an exquisite ballad that rides a high wave of sound and emotional impact that you may not feel until the piece has gone from your memory minutes later. Angled more by Bernocchi and Budd with Guthrie's guitar just underneath the mix.

Winter Garden is a very organic album. It moves slowly. Glides and grows in various directions but with one tonal harmonic message. It's a serene and well stabilizing session that admirers of all three musicians will love. But those of you who haven't heard these excellent musicians before are in for a sublime treat. For me, Eraldo Bernocchi has created one the his best albums of year. Highly recommended.

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