By Brad Cohan | Published February 2020
Amirtha Kidambi and Lea Bertucci have fast become pillars of the avant-garde landscape, wunderkinds carving out an indelible mark by pulling from jazz, free-improv and electroacoustic sounds.
Considering both performers have navigated New York’s experimental music underground with creative aplomb, it’s fitting they’d join forces for Phase Eclipse. Kidambi’s magical, off-the-cuff vocals fed through Bertucci’s tape and electronic gizmos results in a Technicolor slab of squeals, howls, grunts and whispers that dizzies the senses. And while the recording’s completely free-form, there’s a scientific precision to the four exploratory studio improvisations and the 24-minute live track that make up the program.
A sound artist of the highest order, Bertucci’s blender-like treatment of the human voice provides moments of cathartic beauty that quickly can transform into earsplitting dissonance, the quiet/loud dynamic in full effect on “Smoldering, Seething” and “Brood.” Both pieces begin with calm, séance-like chanting before flying off the rails with jolting, playful intensity.
Phase Eclipse is a clinic in psychedelic shapeshifting from two of today’s premier improvisers, so let’s hope it’s not a one-off.
Phase Eclipse: Extensions & Distortions; Smoldering, Seething; Brood; Under The Influence; Live At The Kitchen. (49:55)
Personnel: Amirtha Kidambi, vocals; Lea Bertucci, tapes, electronics.