great review of the incomparably brilliant Alessandra Eramo on the soundprojector

Expecting To Fly

A truly uncategorisable item is Come Ho Imparato A Volare (CORVO RECORDS CORE 002) by the Italian artiste Ezramo. This is evocative, lyrical art, created by a very gifted miniaturist. In just six short tracks we hear a bewildering variety of musical and sound-art techniques, all in the service of Ezramo’s peculiar minimal-poetry lyrics; she sings, plays piano, zither, harp and bells, and also collages field recordings. She also produced the drawings and texts for the whole sleeve. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this gifted woman is primarily a gallery artist, who assisted at the 2011 Venice Biennale, and that this LP has its origins in an exhibition of the same name which was shown in 2009. In the two years following her Stuttgart success, she developed this music which I suppose (not having seen the exhibition) might be an aural rendition or re-casting of the same themes. She is interested in insects and larvae, as is Irene Moon but in a quite different way, and she intends to explore the idea of “transformation”. All the album’s titles refer to this concept, either obliquely or directly, and if you think the image of being wrapped in a cocoon is going to depict a comforting interpretation of human existence, quite the opposite. It’s fairly clear that the entire experience of “How I Learned To Fly” is sad, painful, uncertain, and even racked with torment. Despite moments of respite implied by the romantic piano fugues, the core of the work is quite insistent on these raw emotions, many of which are clearly very hard to express. I welcome this degree of honesty and truth in art, which is very rare. The printed text inside just sings to us about the painful primacy of existence, and our responsibility as human beings: “Wake up!! It’s not a dream…this is your resurrection, your gothic metallic electronical freakin pathetical southern bloody blooming resurrection”. It’s also evident that the gifted Ezramo, whose real name is Alessandra Eramo, knows exactly what effect / meaning / substance she is aiming for with each note she creates; not a single wasted moment across the entire LP, which is compact and accurate as a jet of ice cold water between the eyes. I also welcome this sort of discipline and economy in art. As to what it sounds like, besides the piano music episodes, there are two or three abstract tracks of intense hissing sounds which deliver all the tension and fear implied above; there are overdubbed vocals chanting absurdist la-la tunes in a stark manner; and an opening track that is an expressive metallic rattling episode, highly reminiscent of Ashley Paul’s music. The LP ends with a collage of sound effects and field recordings that seems to depict a dramatic and near-nightmarish Cinderella story – footsteps running, voices muttering, something going badly wrong at a concert with choral music and brass music. 300 hand-numbered copies of the “trade” edition, and 50 art edition copies which were inlaid with original drawings by the artist. Released in March 2012, this is one of the most beautiful records (aurally and visually) I have received this year.