Faultline
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Closer Colder , 7/10
Your Love Means Everything , 6/10
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Faultline is David Kosten, a studio wizard (and a clarinetist) who concocts a fusion of chamber music, industrial techno and free-form noise. All the tracks on Closer Colder (Leaf, 1999 - Thirsty Ear, 2000) are intense, soulful, often melancholy multi-part sonatas that employ both acoustic and electronic sounds. Kosten is particularly skilled in creating a desolate landscape and populating it with disquieting events. Often, an instrument appears and its haunting solo provides a metaphysical counterpart to the amorphous, organic, subliminal magma that has been slowly metabolizing.
An exercise in deconstruction of genres, Awake first crushes a jungle sequence and then, after a brief string section interlude, reassembles it into a forceful and menacing rhythm. But the masterpiece is the coda, the adagio for cello and the distorted harmonica solo and the mesmerizing duet they engage.
Mute also bridges the gap between abstract noise and touching melody, and in a more spectacular manner. The core of the piece is a heart-wrenching trumpet solo, that roams a ghostly texture of dub and jungle beats. A subtle psychedelic undercurrent of distorted sounds adds an oneiric touch.
Papercut harks back to Brian Eno's calm ambient pieces for piano but only to accumulate enough tension to release a salvo of distorted electronics and drum'n'bass chaos. This piece, and the similar Closer Colder, display Kosten's knack for creating and releasing pauses: the music may stop for a few seconds, and then resume with a sudden twist.
Control (that was their debut single) is a small rhythmic jewel: it starts out as a tinkling gamelan divertissment, then mutates into a drum'n'bass sequence, then delves into a tribal African orgy, then suddenly retreats to a minimalistic string quartet that slowly builds up a melody, and finally explodes again in a jungle frenzy.
Tiny Consumer is one of the most abstract compositions, worthy of more prestigious avantgarde composers, and it shows Kosten's ability in arranging sounds (very abstract sounds, mainly samples and found noises) and developing a scenario. All of Kosten's music can be said to be just this elegant blend of samples, found noises and random instruments.
The album closes with a ninth (hidden) track that is but a whirlwind of electronics.

On Your Love Means Everything (Blanco Y Negro, 2002) Kosten surrounds himself with three popular singers, each of which delivers one of the three standout songs: Coldplay's Chris Martin (Where Is My Boy), R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe (Greenfields), and Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne (The Colossal Gray Sunshine). Kosten's compositional skills, though, are better highlighted by the instrumental pieces, particularly Missing, Lost Broadcast and Theme From Half Speed. And the real winner could be the most understated track, Clocks.

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