Girolamo De Simone - Shama (CD Die Schachtel)
There's a colossal body of previous work to catch up on here. De Simone worked initially with Luciano Cilio (whose work is available through this label) but has over the decades built a respected reputation as a pianist and a musicologist, having written books on the subject of what he terms 'border music.'
I've come blind to the album and have no idea how the album relates to his ongoing work and studies with sound, but taken as an individual album what's immediately striking is the uncanny way he's managed to use diverse music languages and combine them in a way that crosses melody with experimentation. We're familiar with composers who juxtapose these different sounds -light melodies on piano, electronics, tapes, musique concrete- into more of a collage (or out and out thuggish bludgeoning) De Simone separates the elements and reveals direct relationships between sounds and, more excitingly, our emotional reactions to them. One moment a plaintive piano plays slow, simple chords, the next we hear electronic processing and somehow these things are one and the same. Or at least the reaction to them reveals an understanding (in the listener) a less rigid definition of music terms assumptions.
On the sleeve notes the title 'Shama' is said to mean both 'to listen' and 'to accept.' That's a beautiful and pithy explanation of what the album embodies.
A finely considered and composed (in both senses of the word) album. Presented in fold-out digpak with sleeve notes in Italian and English. Grazie mille Signore De Simone. HM