No one really listens to oscillators, claims Indian Wells. Okay, we’ll take that as a challenge. The title track, like many of Pietro Iannuzzi’s pieces, starts with a recognizable melody, then gently mutates. This is a common theme in trance, which nudges listeners into new places without a wrenching sensation. The end may be extremely different from the beginning, and like David Byrne, one might ask, “How did I get here?” Knob turning can be tedious, but work pays off.
The album’s larger theme is unfinished, an alternate title if not for the unwanted implications. In contrast, Iannuzzi challenges the entire concept, celebrating the unfinished in life, music and architecture. Is anything ever fully finished? Can one ever know if something is the definitive version? Is the unfinished inferior, or does it pose the opportunity for growth ~ if not for finishing, then for development? These ideas hit home when Iannuzzi’s wife gave birth to a daughter with Down’s syndrome, then discovered the works of Judith Scott, who shares the condition and writes of being considered “unfinished.” The two-part “Incompiuto,” the second part of which is dedicated to Scott, seems unfinished in comparison with the rest of the album: beatless, drifting, formless ~ as is the heart of the artist’s daughter, sampled in utero in the closing track. This piece evolves from ambience to dance, like a life finding its rhythm. Cycling back to the earlier pieces, we feel an affinity for the “completed” works, but feel that their stories may have ended while the others have just begun.
The first two singles are the last two tracks, an unusual approach. The trance/X-Mix connection is cemented by Lawrie Miller’s animated “Calabrian Woods,” which sparks a pleasant nostalgia. Yet the most memorable tracks arrive earlier, led by the bubbling “Four Walls,” which adds percussion as it advances, increasing the drama. Then comes “Against Numbers,” whose title seems to conflict with its numerical tone, until (yes!) the oscillations kick in.
Will the album end here, or will remixes and more videos follow? Will the songs mutate again in concerts and clubs? Years ago, Led Zeppelin proclaimed that The Song Remains the Same, but the title of the live album was facetious; those songs, like all songs, are living beings, seldom finished, still attracting discussion and development. (Richard Allen)