Wege originated as an installation, but thankfully has found its way to disc. The list of collaborators is impressive: Greg Haines, Machinefabriek and Valerio Tricoli, among others. But the credit goes to Andrea Belfi for composing and leading these four articulate pieces. His warm percussion and electronics glide us gently into the album, while his oversight ties together a remarkable number of disparate elements.
There’s no hurry to the proceedings; it’s as if Belfi is saying, “We’ll get there when we get there.” A clear example is the delayed entrance of warning tone and violin on “A”, as if to intimate that neither the analogue or the digital has the upper hand. A curiously recited breakdown in the track’s center offers room for interpretation: Johanna Lettmayer may be saying “artistic”, but her word sounds more like autistic, which lends the recording a degree of uncertainty. “A” does not sound quite right, which is another way of saying that it sounds very right.
“B” may begin in the same way, with Belfi’s percussion providing the lead, but it soon heads off in a more tempered direction, with handclaps and the introduction of Stefano Pilia’s double bass. 60 b.p.m.s is not fast, but it is discernible – a bed of hay for Haines’ cello horse. As vibraphone and guitar stop by the stall, the tone takes on a dusty tinge. The percussion speeds up while the other components slow down. The more random bridge piece “C” sweeps the listener into the character-driven “D”, which features field recordings, harmonica and Machinefabriek’s guitar. On this track, Belfi’s drumming achieves a low-level funk, remaining even in pace while varying in execution.
The German word wege may refer to a road, a path, or a journey. In this case, it may refer to either the root or the route of the music. Fortunately, music is a language that has no national barrier. (Richard Allen)