Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures (Praxis Classics, 2014)

September 10, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures

Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures

I’m not sure if Damian Catera is still a professor at Rutgers, but he was when I went there, and I saw him play a free concert that WRSU was presenting (in which Drop The Lime was booked but never showed up), and he played a noise set during the day to a small but oddly captivated audience. Catera was in a group called ConDemek in the ’80s and early ’90s, which released an LP on RRRecords in 1988, and he also collaborated with KK Null and released several albums on the Harsh House label. Since 2006, however, he’s been exploring deconstructions of baroque music, releasing an entire album of algorithmic variations on Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier in 2011. This release finds him tackling Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Albinoni. His take on Handel’s Water Music starts near-silently, slowly fading in with sliced-and-diced recognizable fragments of the melody, and ending up with a warm drone, with more pieces of the melody flaring up. “Vivaldi Concerto In G Minor Pop” starts with a disconcerting violin drone loop, then switches through several levels of time-folded-over manipulations of violins. “Albinoni Adagio For Strings & Organ” renders those instruments unrecognizable; there’s glitched-out classical guitar and insect-like buzzing, all being transformed and warped inside some sort of forcefield. “Scarlatti Sonata In D Minor” is 9 minutes of classical guitars tumbling and falling backwards and somehow upwwards throughout eternity, ending up a mountain of unspooled, rewound tape. “Vivaldi Concerto In G Minor” expands on the concept of the previous 5-minute “Pop” version, for 20 minutes of mind-melting string transformations, at turns drastic, dramatic, and bordering on noisy. Available at Bandcamp.

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