Monday, 24 October 2011

Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces album review

Throughout the myriad works of Toronto-based musician Sandro Perri, the exploration of melodics have been a constant. This new album, Impossible Spaces, picks up on the minimalism of his solo debut- but frequently has more in common with Perri's 2005 release, the 28 minute electro cover of Arthur Russell's 'Kiss Me Again'. And while initial listens may find you put off by some melodic imprecision, multiple spins reveal Impossible Spaces to be an album rich with composition and nuance, one that draws from Perri's dance-past as much as his avant-folk leanings. The result is a smashed palette of an album, one that zips and collects as it does so.

After a four year composition and recording process, Impossible Spaces is by far Sandro Perri's most technically accomplished work. Whereas previous albums under the Glissandro70 or Polmo Polpo monickers have been interesting, rounded wholes- their aesthetics (the reinvention of disco and a meditation on drawn-out melody respectively) seem smaller than the statements laid out here. This is an album that is musically and thematically broad, contradictory, abundant with varying voices and styles that over the records seven tracks find a unifying sense of itself. The album title hints at something conflicted and a call/response structure to many of the song duos and transitions between play off the sense of dichotomy very well. Album opener 'Changes' exemplifies this dualistic structure, its first half comprising ambling song, the second relenting to dance-prog noodlings that build and build. The album is sequenced wonderfully, as demonstrated by the pained and awkward musings of 'How Will I?' - the kind of track that Flaming Lips might have used to end an album, here used to round off the first epoch before moving into the beautiful simplicity of 'Futuractive Kid Part 1'.

That's a phrase I keep coming back to, for while the composition is rich with detail- the instrumentation and recording is just sublime in its simplicity. A limited scope of three or four base instruments are accentuated by the subtlest and most precise of studio effects. Impossible Spaces sounds low-fi and high-tech all at once, and beneath the albums semantics there are some stunning pieces of musicianship here. There's a lot to take in, a broad scope for styles across the record's 38 minutes- fans of Hot Chip and Nick Drake's Bryter Layter may find a lot to enjoy distinctly here, but those are but approximations. Impossible Spaces is the sound of an artist making his most crucial statement yet. For those who have followed Perri from his days inaugering Constellation, this album feels like the artist stepping beyond his own back catalogue. For newcomers, this marks an ideal point of entry, but there's a wealth of recordings that have led the artist to this very accomplished moment.


First published in the405

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