Keszler, Eli: Stadium 2LP
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New York-based artist Eli Keszler is at the apex of his career. This year alone he's had a solo exhibition in the UK, performed with Laurel Halo, collaborated with author László Krasznahorkai, taught experimental composition and performance in the Pyrenees, and toured with Oneohtrix Point Never. Stadium is his new album for Shelter Press. As his ninth solo record, Stadium reflects his move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, where he produced the album. The constant motion and ever-changing landscapes of the island helped him modify and shape his sound into a new kind of film noir. There is a startling amount of expression at play on each track, where intersections of melody, restraint and rhythm are used to challenge the idea of memory, impression and space. Keszler is often mistaken for an electronic musician, but in fact his sounds are raw and natural, produced by hand. His performance with drumset and acoustic percussion are central to his work. He produces almost impossible textures through self-realized methodologies: cascading melodies, a shadow of voices, and a unique pointillist materiality. Although playing with the intensity of digitally-created music, his communications are done live with no processing; this is what gives Stadium its depth and warmth. On Stadium, Keszler uses lived experience to realize the most wide-ranging sound he's created to date, drawing out textures from overlapping geographies and transforming these recordings into starting points for composition. He then builds on these environments to create subliminal spaces for his music, which is pushed to new levels with string and brass arrangements. Is this the "stadium" referred to in the title: a larger network of sound and bodies moving continually, oscillating and turning in on itself? Keszler has explored these ideas before with notable projects such as his Manhattan Bridge installation Archway (2015) Stadium takes these long-running ideas to new depths. Keszler states: "The recordings on Stadium are inverted. They are landscapes scaled for the singular, like a mass collecting in one arena, this music compresses city spaces, genre and instrumentalism into an amorphous form. On the record, there are ruptures of information and happenstance. Like a game, it could go any number of ways."