Review Summary: Even chamber musicians drive to the mall.
There’s music everywhere.
This statement is a little banal, isn’t it? It’s almost a platitude, like claiming 'it is what it is', or 'patience is a virtue'. Whenever someone insists every sound around us is beautiful in its own special way, we tend to dismiss it. Whether or not you consider it nonsense, or are just too disinterested to acknowledge its significance, there is something exceptional about rearranging everyday noises into an art form surpassing my - or anyone’s - ability to verbalize it. There is such a vast resource of sound in the world (no shi
t, I know), so it’s inevitable that various composers are intent on exploring it and creating something dynamic and engaging, while beckoning infinite interpretations.
is aptly named… maybe. The album is certainly dynamic and largely narrative, but encapsulates the feeling of coming and going amidst a bustling environment in a way that never feels truly concluded. Vanessa Rossetto basks in her surroundings, and rejoices in the various sounds she's familiar with. While commonplace for musicians to create something detached from the seemingly mundane, they are still trapped in routine. Many of us tend to be willfully oblivious, but composers who delve in field recordings tend to pursue the various oddities around us - car noises, wind chimes, whatever, anything on the planet - and unlock any hidden potential they can identify. Rossetto’s approach on Whole Stories
is unconventional in this sense. Whereas similar composers tend to record in a precise manner, narrowing in on a sound of their choosing, Rossetto opts for a more passive approach. “This Is a Recorder” was allegedly recorded during a weekend trip to Mardi Gras - though ultimately condensed to 20 minutes - and serves as a surprisingly evocative take on the environment. For example, around the 13-minute mark she utilizes the distant rumbling of a train to create an ominous buildup that is borderline terrifying, but gorgeous in how it assembles a sinister monolith before collapsing instantaneously amidst the sound of sloshing water. It is displaced by city noises and idle chitchat, which alludes to the triviality of everyday fears brought on by nothing more than our own imagination. There is an oddly humourous excerpt near the end of this track where Rossetto drunkenly explains to a stranger what she does. It sounds like nonsense when she insists "I’m a composer
" and explains her creative process, while her companion humours her, claiming "hmm, that’s interesting
." She certainly implies music is everywhere, but it’s unlikely her claim struck any chords with her listener at that particular time. There’s irony here, somewhere.
Without dragging on, elaborating on every possible nuance present on Whole Stories
, it’s still important to note Rossetto’s unique perception. The second track, also 20 minutes, is set in the faint aura of a casino - so faint, it took me several listens to realize the location - and features an absurdly vast arrangement of noises requiring multiple listens, yielding varying results. This is the essence of Whole Stories
. It is demanding. It demands
willingness to embrace the mundane, and seek reward in the most unlikely of places. It revels in its surroundings, yet easily serves as a gateway to reverie.
There’s music everywhere. Live a little.