Monday, September 26, 2005

Sanso-xtro - Sentimentalist

.....The thing about learning a second language is that your range of expression can become drastically limited from what you’re used to. Verb tense becomes slippery and actions in the present suddenly slide into the past with an omitted accent or extra consonant. Melissa Agate’s first language is drumming and percussion, but on Sentimentalist she attempts to speak through a more processed iteration which uses analogue synthesizers, guitar, ukulele, kalimba, bells and other delicate sound sources. Although she is perhaps not fluent in these new instruments her approximate translations yield striking new expressions that outweigh any more “proper” approach. The opener “the last leaf” is the sound of a slightly tipsy, burping analogue synth backing out of a room of cymbals and snares. Elsewhere, as on “zlumber… talkinmysleep” and “minus_ecki,” she plays her stringed instruments as percussive loops in a double entendre of melody and hollow bodied echoes. The combination of sounds yields music that is neither ambient drifting nor the structured verse/chorus of pop but a synthesis of these… not unlike a recombination of early works by Pan.American and experiments by Steve Roden. It is music that doesn’t tell a whole story, but describes moments in colourful detail and from peculiar points of view across many languages. Very expressive and definitely not limited.


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