A new record store (Rough Trade) just opened in NYC, and this is exactly the sort of new record one might hope to discover in the front racks: intricate, creative, pleasing to the eye and ear. The Coke bottle vinyl is an appealing factor: hard plastic backed by a hard plastic sleeve containing the cover art. An additional tiny touch is a thin, clear postcard containing the track listing; one almost misses it until one removes the record from the sleeve.
Bertucci has been honing her skills for many years in multiple arenas, including photography, video and sound installation. The latter discipline comes to mind when listening to Resonance Shapes. The sounds seem to have been assembled in vertical layers rather than in horizontal layers, providing the impression of walking through a room even when sitting still. Sounds move into the foreground and fade into the background, untethered by stagnancy. The field recording aspect is especially immediate: gurgles, pops, crunches and other odd sounds are dragged into the mix like debris on wet sneakers. These textures provide the recording with its grit, ensuring that it will resist categorization. Once struck objects are added, the bed is made, awaiting human warmth.
The warmth arrives with the timbres of the bass clarinet and vibraphone. Bertucci is less interested in playing songs than in creating introspective pieces. These tracks operate like conversations between instruments and performer. Instead of imposing her will, Bertucci asks, “What can you do?” In return, the instruments open their secret boxes of sound and happily share their potential. This may mean a tendril of note or a surrender to drone. The participants enjoy each other’s company, trusting in the give-and-take. “Signature” celebrates texture, while “Swarm”, in honor of its title, amasses tones. “Seep” features clear improvisation, while “Rods and Cones” vibrates like a tuning fork. In every instance, one intuits a keen curiosity, a desire to separate components and put them back together like the innards of an old transistor radio. One suspects that Bertucci never breaks anything; her love for her subjects is personal and intense. Resonance Shapes is a grand exploration of the possibilities inherent in sound. (Richard Allen)