A Little Orchestra

Big Deal
Daniel Blinkhorn
Chartier & Novak
Yannick Dauby
Different Marks
Marcel Fengler
Luca Forcucci
Stafrænn Hákon
A Little Orchestra
Koen Lybaert
Mercy Giants
Lorenzo Montanà
Moss Project
North Atlantic Drift
Lasse-Marc Riek
Franck Roger
May Roosevelt
Mathieu Ruhlmann
Sankt Otten
Saburo Ubukata

Compilations / Mixes
Carl Craig
Poolside Sounds Vol II
Radio Slave
The Return
Token Introspective
Totally E. Extinct Dinosaurs

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Mampi Swift
Negative Gemini
Andy Vaz

Luca Forcucci: Fog Horns
Sub Rosa

Even the most abstract music benefits from a grounding concept or two, a case in point Luca Forcucci's aptly titled Fog Horns, the eleventh release in Sub Rosa's limited-edition Framework series, itself an extension of the label's Concrete Electronics Noise series. In the words of the bi-national Swiss-and-Italian sound artist, “After twelve hours of flight and some sleep deprivation, I landed in San Francisco in Spring 2011. Because of or thanks to my state of consciousness, I heard a distinct and beautiful sound. It took me a while to understand if I was really hearing it or dreaming it: the sound of the fog horns.” As someone who has collected field recordings from both urban and natural locales such as Shanghai, San Francisco, the Amazon forest, and the Swiss Alps, Forcucci is acutely sensitive to the uncanny sound potential of the fog horn and puts it to good use on the recording. Of course, the obvious precursor to Forcucci's release is Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes, but the connection between them is a matter of title only.

Aside from sonic treatments (cuts, scratches, etc.) by Goo Le Gooster on “Fog Horns” and cello by Michael Kott on “Winds,” the album, issued in an edition of 400 copies, is all Forcucci. The guests' contributions shouldn't be downplayed, however: the turntable effects add a distinctively woozy dimension to the title track, specifically in the way they amplify the already disorienting character of Forcucci's surreal soundworld. Le Gooster's presence turns it into somewhat of an illbient-styled piece, one vaguely reminiscent of something DJ Spooky might create. Interestingly, the fog horn's hazy drone, while omnipresent, is hardly the sole dominating element. Instead, it's simply one of many, with bird chirps, industrial noises, voices, and other less identifiable sounds equally emphasized within the mutating swirl. Though not quite as captivating as the opener, “L'ecume des jours” segues fluidly between sounds of crashing waves and smothering layers of distortion in a way that wouldn't sound out of place on an album by Francisco Lopez (one of the figures Forcucci thanks on the inner sleeve). The closing piece, “Winds,” revisits the more elaborate approach of the opener in weaving multiple diverse elements into fifteen minutes of hallucinatory drift. Kott's cello, treated less like a conventional solo instrument and more another textural element within Forcucci's murky mix, resembles some animal struggling to wrest itself free from a toxic whirlpool.

Though it hardly needs be said that Fog Horns is best experienced via headphones, it truly is a project that significantly benefits from close listening. The more one immerses oneself in the recording, the more one comes to appreciate Forcucci's attention to detail and how artfully he's arranged the sounds within the three settings.

July 2013