Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 1360, November 7, 2022

The biography of Vanessa Massera is relatively short. She is a composer of electroacoustic music, “a medium she uses to express poetic ideas within the multiple cultural spaces and environments that fuel her inspiration”, plus a list of places that programmed her music. There are six lengthy pieces of music on this disc, with a total length of seventy-one minutes. Massera uses a lot of field recording, from fireworks and bonfires to industrial objects and environmental recordings. She also works with instruments, such as saxophones (played by Stockholms Saxofonkvartett), her grandmother’s voice, and an accordion. Most of the time, none of these sounds are recognized as such. It’s only when you read the liner notes that one thinks, oh, fireworks or saxophones, indeed it is. When she writes about her piece Omega 3, using “elements of traditional Nordic folk music”, I can safely say that ’indeed it does’, didn’t come to mind. As with many releases by Empreintes Digitales, the way the working methods of Massera are all in the digital domain, emphasising granular synthesis and stretching of sounds, topped with a good amount of reverb. All of this results in sturdy music with a serious approach. I think this is all solid music, good pieces, but not really something that seems to stand out. I enjoyed the way she treated the saxophone sounds into a densely orchestrated piece of minimalist attacks (using the sound of the keys, it seems) and the aforementioned Omega 3, which goes from near-silent to something that could be classified as weird techno music (with an all too strong 4/4 beat, however). Solid and good are the keywords here, but it is also something I heard before on more than a few occasions.

Solid and good are the keywords here…