MELFI “Four Concerns” C30 (Czaszka [Rec.])

I listened to “Four Concerns” at nighttime on July 2, 2018, and the ambience of the evening accentuated the processed cello, field recordings, and modular synthesis Melfi utilizes in this work. From the moment the cello clips Paul De Jong’d their way in stereo across the speakers, I was hooked.

But the cello’s not all. Melfi proves to be a master manipulator of mood and tone, and although much of the two pieces here are said to be “improvised,” there’s very little chaos or unintentional disruption. “Four Concerns,” while split into parts “I” and “II” across the sides of the tape, comprises a full vision that indeed “seem[s] to follow the course of a story.” It’s a work that surrounds you with itself and settles in to all the cracks and fissures of the moments of your life you spend listening to it.

As I sat and contemplated “Four Concerns” on the evening of July 2, crickets and frogs joined in the festivities outside my window, their song an accompaniment to Melfi’s machinations. It fit perfectly, so much so that I invited them back for an encore performance the next evening. Melfi’s unintentional collaborators were glad to oblige.

But after that they’re no longer welcome. A man has to sleep sometime.

Czaszka (Rec.)