Rule and Case first caught our ear when “Chrono” appeared on Preserved Sound’s recent compilation Winter Kept Us Warm. Now the full album is available, and comes across as another fine release from an ever-consistent label.
In the snowy video for “Senhal,” splashes of color pop against washes of white. It’s a lovely introduction to an album that intersperses modern composition with electronics. It’s also one of three tracks that contain drums. The combination of influences works here, as it does in all but one instance (“Chrono,” which ironically seems a bit out of synch). Masotto’s piano and a string quartet are present throughout, and provide the album’s backbone; on the finest track – closer “Rainbow” – trombone and sax offer additional bursts of color.
The album is also graced with a great deal of dynamic contrast, from the bells of “Purple Lake” to the Penderecki-esque start-and-stop of “Polyphonic Dreams.” This latter piece – easily the album’s most dramatic – startles like an attacking bird, diving beak-first at a nearby predator. Located at the direct center of the set, it’s the piece around which the others revolve.
On the most pensive tracks (“Kepler 452 b” and “Photos”), a sweet sense of calm is created amid the clamor. Late album highlight “Branchie” continues this theme by scraping the electronics. Now the orchestra gets the sound field to itself, and a sense of purity is restored. Yet Masotto’s wise sequencing helps the listener to appreciate the electronics when they return for the finale, and in “Rainbow” it all works: the emotion reaches its most complicated levels, and the combination of textures is akin to that of a spring bloom. It’s as if the composer is calling all hands on deck, playing multiple trump cards at once. “Rainbow” is both finale and culmination, a perfect ending to a diverse and delightful album. (Richard Allen)