Oggetto is an electroacoustic performance trio comprised of sound-artist/percussionist Carmelo Pampillonio, guitarist/video artist Michael Flanagan, and bassist/composer Frank Meadows, currently based in Asheville, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn respectively. Their self-titled debut was recorded November 2015 - February 2016 at Drop of Sun Studios while the trio was living in Asheville.
Through extemporaneous performance, the group set out to unearth the compositional possibilities of transposing Gestalt concepts of visual perception to music. As Gestaltist principles are mostly concerned with visual images, embodying them into sonic object lessons relies almost exclusively on temporality. This began with the decoding of rhythm — reformulating and rearranging its fundamental components with the aim of reimagining not rhythms, but pseudo-rhythmic topologies arranged as oblique strata.
What developed was a practice of generating kinetic spaces where the interstices between rhythmic events and meters were left to constantly modulate, and the music unfurls with repulsive coordination that, like a geometric asymptote, infinitely approaches synchrony without ever sinking into it. Such spaces interrogate the human proclivity toward patternicity, and entails hovering around pattern discrimination thresholds in listening.
In a broader sense, the arrangements are meditations on aural pareidolia — perceiving patterns, figures, and connections out of ambiguous or random stimuli — and a practice of turning to intuition. Staggered beats, arrhythmic meters, and asynchronous palpitations alchemize in such a way that their merging suggests to the listener, on the affective level, a compelling sense of cohesion and continuity. In other words, it kindles within the listener a sonic illusion: the impression that there may be a “whole” and singular rhythmic prägnanz — a virtual whole interpreted from the nebulously flowing forms characterized by an ongoing dynamism. Yet each performer’s layer exerts its own anti magnetism toward the others.
The ad hoc movements themselves eschew both unbridled free improvisation and mechanistic composition, while oscillating in the spaces between them. On a discrete level, no single layer anchors itself as a center of reference, as each strand develops independently as an undercurrent to the others. The parts within these sonorous convolutions lack consistency and predictability, yet their fragmentations dovetail in various ways that evoke impressions of coherent rhythmic patterns, or pockets of rhythmic prosodies. In doing so, this reflects an unconscious process of grouping and information compression employed by the listener.
This is Gestaltist effect: the erratic implies organization, a subtle suggestion that chaos isn’t invariably opposed to order. These virtual “wholes”, ephemeral and emergent, articulate a poetics of instability, intuition, and flow; an improvisatory practice that reifies yet values abstraction. Where the Gestalt effect concerns perceiving chimeric objects/figures before their parts, the implied motifs and transient rhythms are the objects in much of this music
Proceeds to benefit the new Different Wrld HQ in the former Mothlight space in Asheville NC
Releases on DLR: