Italy’s Deison has been recording for decades, and is still experimenting with new ideas. He’s never settled into a single mode of recording or focused on a single genre. This creative restlessness has worked to his advantage. Cayendo doesn’t sound like any of Deison’s last three albums (all reviewed here) except in parts. The string segments of “Drone 11” (from Dead Man and a Skeleton Stag) form the closest connection, but the timbre is completely different. While that piece bordered on the industrial, the new material lands squarely in the realm of modern composition.
The difference this time around is made by Valencia cellist Sara Galan, who contributes evocative passages that are often looped but occasionally allowed to play through. The looping is less noticeable than one might think; because Deison alters the original sounds, repetition doesn’t always sound like repetition. The press release even contains an evocative typo: filed recordings rather than field recordings. And why not? Deison files Galan’s sounds down to a clean buff. By adding electronics, tapes, muffled voice and masked digestive noises, he creates something that is more than the sum of its parts: a deep composition in which every cello passage, even if initially improvised, sounds wholly intentional.
The album was inspired by the phrase, “earth swallow me”, and by thoughts of “earth, sand, mud and desert”. It’s easy to make the connection; Galan’s cello lurks along the base of a shallow pool, seeking to rise like the first amphibian. It’s a slow, deliberate rise that leads to a gasping of breath, but the effect is ultimately triumphant. Her cello work favors the rising tension of the long draw, most apparent on the dramatic, percussive opener, “Instabile”. The disembodied skitterings that litter the landscape may be the cries of other creatures: don’t go, don’t go. In “Ingestion”, Deison’s additions are both brighter (high pitched, bell-like tones) and darker (stomach rumblings?).
The best is saved for last, as the album’s longest and shortest tracks close the set. “Desierto” is as moody and forlorn as a parched man crawling toward an oasis. Deep reverberations form a sonic wall, as if in imitation of a rising sandstorm. Beeps and siftings serve as grit: sand in the eyes and doubt in the brain. When Galan’s cello emerges early in the third minute, it presents the album’s clearest tones. One can hear an invisible orchestra cueing up behind her. The brief “Scava fosse (barrio)” completes the journey, recessing into a crackled loop; perhaps the oasis was merely a mirage. (Richard Allen)