Caterina Barbieri is an Italian composer who explores themes related to machine intelligence and object-oriented perception in sound through a focus on minimalism. Following 2017’s acclaimed double-LP Patterns Of Consciousness (IMPREC 449LP), Ecstatic Computation is the new full-length LP by Caterina Barbieri. The album revolves around the creative use of complex sequencing techniques and pattern-based operations to explore the artefacts of human perception and memory processes by ultimately inducing a sense of ecstasy and contemplation. Computation is turned from being a formal, automatic writing technique into a creative, psychedelic practice to generate temporal hallucinations. A state of trance and wonder where the perception of time is distorted and challenged. Equally nervous and ecstatic, the fast permutation of patterns can create a state where time stands still whilst simultaneously being in motion. Is this propulsive music moving forward or backward? As long as the perception of the present is constantly enhanced and refreshed in an endless sense of loss, re-discovery and the search for self-orientation this question lies mute aside the thrilling and perplexing moment of the matter at hand. Vocals on “Arrows Of Time” performed by Annie Gårlid and Evelyn Saylor; recorded by Stefano Tucci at Failsafe Studio. Artwork by Ruben Spini. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering.
Highly synergistic split from Eleh and Caterina Barbieri featuring two sides of similar audio dimensions. These two electronic sound poems slowly unfurl rich timbre and harmonics with an austere stillness that is, somehow, ever-changing. It hardly matters whose side is whose.
Patterns Of Consciousness is the powerful second full-length from analog synth composer Caterina Barbieri. Gorgeous high resolution analog textures and algorithmic melodies unfold under Barbieri’s careful control, exploring the basic nature of sound and consciousness. These pieces are minimal in arrangement but maximal in presence asserting Barbieri as a unique voice in contemporary electronic music composition. Patterns Of Consciousness was originated by ideally infinite permutation of patterns through a disciplined and exclusive use of machinery (an indexed quad sequencer and a harmonic oscillator). By means of subtraction, addition, and jitter operations, Barbieri derives a myriad of interlocking patterns extracted from an original matrix of just few harmonic archetypes, gradually developing the potential of the reduced constellation of pitches and durations determined in advance. Pushing the limits of her monophonic instrument, Barbieri seeks out counterpoint from a single oscillator through the exclusive use of additive synthesis, fast progressions, extreme melodic jumps, and intricate delay lines. She develops an illusory counterpoint style influenced by her passion for baroque lute music, where fast arpeggios are employed to get effects of sustained chords and overcome the limits of fast decay timbres. But the highly formulaic and germinative style of these pieces is also influenced by Indian classical music’s vision of sound as an agent of change and recreation. Patterns are understood as the cells of an organism or the units of a language: a limited set of signs that can be recombined to always generate new possibilities. In POC, repetition and permutation of patterns are explored as tools to reconfigure perceptions and bend emotions, approaching sound as a medium to develop and master our own perceptual art. Emerging machine intelligence, human desire of pattern detection and the understanding of music as a cognitive feedback between humans and technology are primary sources of inspiration for this work. All the compositions share a common fatalistic tension, an impossible running, a restless rush – somewhat nervous somewhat ecstatic – to grasp a meaning out of fragments. Every piece in POC is conceived as a generative entity, a dynamic and living being able to develop its own organic laws, whose inner potential of growth and change is embedded in the initial instructions of the sequencer. Music produced by Caterina Barbieri between September 2015 and January 2016. Mixed at EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) in Stockholm. RIYL: Alessandro Cortini, Eleh.