Monday, May 14, 2007

The audio portion of Frame's CD + DVD collaboration with video artist Nina di Majo is an enveloping work that deserves a good amount of concentration. Experienced in front of proper speakers, epic tracks like "music for a merged bubble" wrap themselves warmly around the listener with deep, dusty digital lows and simple bell-like melodies in the top end. Well-placed energetic freeform saxophone carries "pon" and "sequenza quattro," and tones down smoothly for armchair dramas like "madalia." Sticky, cavernous beats take on complex roles beneath airy synth sweeps, stylized stereophonic drips, and thoughtful piano compositions throughout the album's nine cuts. The DVD portion of afo 4 is dedicated to abstract vignettes for the awkward body movements of two actors whose fanciful costumes (wings, gasmasks, wrapped gauze) and contrived, jerky movements make the work hard to take seriously. While much of di Majo's work (composed in response to Frame's music) looks like detached and under- wrought experimentation with editing and processing effects, the videos for "madalia" and "doi guo" are stunningly pieced-together color wheels of human motion that would make Peter Gabriel smile. The visual score would work best not as a DVD for watching at home, but as it was originally presented - a background in an audiovisual installation created for afo 4.-Trent Wolbe

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