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Belfi: Ore (FLOAT)

first thing I heard from percussionist and composer/producer Belfi
was his 2014 album Natura Morta. I enjoyed its mix of acoustic
percussion and physicality with electronics and effects, often with a
drony edge. Ore, his first in three years, ups the ante considerably
with fewer but longer tracks and far more ambitious arrangements that
feel downright cinematic. Whereas Natura Morta seemed to let the
electronics guide him with percussive detailing and enhancements, Ore
immediately starts with Belfi’s acoustic drumming. He makes the claim
to his experience as a qualified drummer and percussionist strongly
right out of the gate, while his electronic arrangement then starts
to take shape under it. Bending oscillators lend a leering malaise
while Belfi’s timpani and hihats start to take on a breathing,
heaving quality. Its ominous, regular bass hum and looming pads turn
up the tension while what sounds like underwater woodblocks ripple
under the surface. The most satisfying thing about Belfi’s
arrangements is how well produced the music is, with its percussive
layers coming through either loudly and clearly with bravado or
accentuating the music in more beguiling ways.

Ore by Andrea Belfi

“Anticline” is
probably my favorite of the five as a big opener, but I also really
like the confident chaos of “Iso,” wherein frenetic freestyle
drumming gets manipulated on the fly with reverb, delay, and reverse
effects to make it disorienting as to where Belfi’s percussionist
hand relays the music to his production hand. His furious ricochet of
drumming snaps into a groove as it segues into “Lead,” a more
taut upping of the ante thrown down in “Anticline.” The most
tightly wound track on Ore is the longest one, “Ton,” with its
nervous, relentless skittering hihats and rides, a steady rolling
pattern of filtered toms propelling it forward as his synths tensely
drone overhead. Belfi wraps it up with “Syncline,” a prolonged,
steady, downtempo comedown that bookends well with “Anticline” as
the opener. Ultimately, Ore works best as a continuous idea — its
cuts all work to form a dynamic, expressive narrative. Highly

Buy it: Bandcamp