Mem1 - Tetra
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Duo Mark and Laura Cetilia's work as 'Mem1' defines a relationship where both members are acutely tuned to each other; this is evident in the resulting sound they have produced in the three tracks that form their forth album 'Tetra'. Whilst their sound is mostly linear in structure, Mark's electronics - effects and custom made patches - provide layers of microsounds and affect Laura's cello which in turn seems to pre-empt her partners interpretations. Together they extract every nuance of vibration, imperfection, and harmonics to produce a very subtle depth of sound, through an improvised process.
'Trieste' is a quiet opener, providing a contrast to the tracks that follow. The cello is most recognisable, as it is stretched, warped and effected over the 12 minute piece. Central track 'Caldera' shares its name with a volcanic feature that forms when there is a collapse of land after an eruption into a crater-like shape. As with 'Trieste', it arrives quietly, but then builds; through dense reverberating string noise to a maelstrom of static and high pitched tense affected cello.
Hræsvelgr, last track in this set, weighs in at over 18 minutes long but somehow, becoming lost in the cold barren landscape it describes, this is suddenly not long enough. Hræsvelgr, from Norse mythology, is a giant who takes eagle form, this Scandinavian reference may well be homage to Deaf Center, or similar, as there are similarities to be found in this track. Mem1 however, expand the noises to produce a wider soundscape less concerned with melody and more with texture and describing an extreme environment.
This triptych of constructed stories, full of beautiful harmonics, raw noise and sonic impurities is certainly affecting. There is something about 'Tetra' that really resonates; there feels like an exploration going on, a fervency to finding new sounds, and a need to align them in new ways. A highly rewarding listen, one that allows the listener to embed themselves within, become lost in and suspend time for the album's duration.
Hræsvelgr (Preview) by estuary-ltd