August 18, 2022
Trasluz - Amidea Clotet
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Catalog #: RPRSS008
Location: United States
Release Date: August 12, 2022
Media: compact disc or digital download
Trasluz served as our introduction to the music of Amidea Clotet. The album contains seven improvised electric guitar solos. For listeners whom the term "electric guitar solo" conjures up images of the late Eddie Van Halen, they will immediately recognize that they have ventured into foreign territory. For those inclined to think of renowned European free improvisers of the guitar, such as Derek Bailey or Hans Reichel, they too will have to recalibrate their ears. Even if one were to think of various albums by Keith Rowe on Erstwhile, in which the combination of electrical circuits and guitar are combined to generate sounds that only obliquely reference conventional notions of music, there is still just a conceptual similarity in philosophical approach; the actual manifestation of sounds bears little resemblance between the two. So we suppose that the guitar playing of Ms. Clotet doesn't immediately suggest comparison, at least not to other electric guitarists.
However, the music on Trasluz finds a comfortable home on the Relative Pitch label, which regularly offers new music from saxophones or trumpets or pianos that, upon first (or subsequent) listenings, one wouldn't immediately associate with these particular instruments. Indeed, Ms. Clotet presents music of the electric guitar as if she were unfamiliar with its previous place in various musical traditions. This contravention of convention appeals to our ears and to our esthetic values, which state, "Let us find our way along a meandering path to music that needs listening to, because, by its nature, the invitation, which it extends, is ambivalent."
Based on our rudimentary investigative skills, Trasluz, means reflected light or light refracted through a translucent material. Of course the guitar in this work passes through a variety of electronics before emerging as acoustic waves. Perhaps this literal meaning is implied in the title. At the same time, we suppose that the intentions of Ms. Clotet are also filtered through the instrument and what we hear is a reflection of her original design.
At the Poison Pie Publishing House, we are perpetually hung up on the notion that music embodies meaning of various types. To the musicians who declare that music is music and should be enjoyed as such, we do not disagree. We think that there can be multiple interpretations of the same phenomenon, which describe it in different terms without contradicting each other. We pride ourselves on our skills at apophenia, namely interpreting meaning in otherwise meaningless data. Whatever meaning we assign to this music, no matter how unintended or at odds with the goals of the musician, we nevertheless arrived at it through exposure to the recordings and we report our observations here. What did Amidea Clotet convey to us as she bowed, scraped and plucked the strings of her electric guitar? Only this: The world as it sits at the beginning of the 2020's makes no attempt to hide its irascible barbs, its inexorable tension and its continuous redefinition of purpose. That young wanderers in this world should make a music that reflects their environment is, in fact, part of the essential role of art and makes this a music at one with our surroundings and times.
Trasluz is a recent addition (and the first featuring electric guitar) to the Relative Pitch Records Solo Series. Several other albums from this adventurous series have been reviewed by the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House. Links to the reviews are provided below.