Barbieri, Caterina: Spirit Exit LP
The musical vortexes of Caterina Barbieri rewire time and space. Listening to the Italian composer and modular synth virtuoso has felt like traveling at light-speed and slow-motion all at once since 2017's breakthrough Patterns Of Consciousness. 2019's acclaimed Ecstatic Computation pushed even further with the lead single "Fantas". Far beyond any new age trope or modern synth trend, her music stands alone in its ecstatic intensity and cataclysmic emotional impact. Marking the debut album on her new label light-years, Barbieri now delivers her most profound work yet -- a journey through inner-space as vast as a universe and as intimate as a heartbeat. Spirit Exit is Caterina Barbieri's time machine, primarily composed with a modular synth rig she thinks of more like a mechanical fortune teller. Whereas previous releases were constructed on lengthy tours, capturing only snapshots of continually evolving works, Spirit Exit represents the producer's first album fully written and recorded in her home studio amidst Milan's two-month pandemic lockdown in 2020. It was during this extended isolation she found inspiration from female philosophers, mystics and poets spread across time, but united in their strength at cultivating vast internal worlds. St. Teresa D'Avila's foundational 16th century mystical text The Interior Castle, philosopher Rosi Braidotti's posthuman theories and the metaphysical poetry of Emily Dickinson act as thematic anchors throughout Spirit Exit. Spirit Exit crystallizes Barbieri's densely layered, blindingly bright synth arrangements while introducing stunning new elements that feel as if they've always belonged. Strings and guitar flawlessly thread into the composer's web of modular patches, while her revelatory singing voice often cuts right through them. Melodies remain Barbieri's great passion and obsession and on Spirit Exit they grow as large as planets before cracking into atoms. The sweeping "At Your Gamut" perfects the producer's dramatic, slow-burning openers, but in her first ever use of sampling, it later gets crushed, accelerated and unrecognizably transformed into the ghostly hook surging through "Terminal Clock". As the album closes on "The Landscape Listens" -- a song that approaches death with all the gentle grace of Brian Eno's "An Ending (Ascent)".