Through the use of a specifically designed bow, Nikos Veliotis extracts the quintessence of harmonic indeterminacy from an instrument habitually bracketed together with string quartets and classic repertoires. In his hands the cello becomes a means for infusing different areas of perception with a foretaste of what individuals suppose to be “coming after”, a sort of prescience about a merely hypothetical post-existential phase usually leaving sensitive (and, face it, often plain stupid) believers suspended in inexplicable anguish. In Vertical, Veliotis is flanked by Anastasis Grivas, who plays a custom-made guitar that results as complementary to the cellist’s grievous drones as the distress that comes by looking outside the window when the snow falls, the sky is grey and the challenges of daily occurrences destined to add further trouble to already difficult periods are inevitably going to hit the pit of the stomach.
In case you didn’t get the picture, this record contains the materialization of dolefully dissonant murmurs that are not likely to elicit smiles. Still, they do possess an inherent grace which, in actual fact, derives from the softly clashing emanations of the upper partials in the extreme regions of the frequency spectrum. Not just that: in the third movement we’re presented with an altered combination of impalpable metallic whispers, slightly tarnished sonic capsules dragged across the ice of a hopeless pessimism. When the cello reappears, it’s like a friend’s hand on the shoulder in a useless try to raise spirits, but the dejection lingers on. The whole, interspersed with the customary long silences (up to over five minutes) separating the tracks, constitutes one of the most unfathomable listening experiences of a winter that’s not prone to grant any favours.
Only a severely concentrated incursion across the dormant nuances of tone could really cure the inexcusable incompetents who roam about things fabricated for personal purposes. The problem is that many people – including several self-defined “musicians” – are manifestly unable to decode what life itself communicates. There’s no more time to waste with conceptual tawdriness, as interior resonance chooses the worthy ones to reveal its magnificence inside their indiscernible nucleus. An apparently cruel natural selection, necessary to preserve a handful of elected amidst the ruins of human collapse.