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Caterina Barbieri, 'Math of You'

In the past decade, Italian composer Caterina Barbieri has been in deep communion with the ghost in the machine. Utilizing an array of primarily analog synthesizers, the Berlin-based Barbieri excavates a depth of consciousness and intelligence through artificial means.

Initiated with a set of five-tone patterns that ballast and anchor the performance, Barbieri's "Math of You" builds upon a canon-like call-and-response as layers of delayed-and-looped arpeggios extend, gently distort, examine, discard and return to the source melody. Contained within the circuits, sequencers and woozy algorithms of Barbieri's music there is a steady humanness to it all. At midpoint, the momentum of the electronic swirl softens to a cathedral-like echo, with the alternating scales offering a smoothed and muted quality that harkens back to the early '70s mystic-minimalism of Terry Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes. The whooping analog glissandos and pitch slides that dot the end of "Math of You" are closer to human jubilation than any robotic command-codes.

Copyright 2023 WJCT News 89.9

Daniel A. Brown