Matthew Revert/Vanessa Rossetto - Everyone Needs A Plan (CD)
The second collaboration between sound artist Vanessa Rossetto and writer and sound artist Matthew Revert is a monumental work that studies the evolution of communication through fragments of spoken words, and a rich tapestry of sound from acoustic and electronic instruments, field recordings, and perplexing and dramatic sources of sound. Six panel digipak, design by Matthew Revert.
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1. Everyone Needs A Plan (75:00)
(released August 20, 2018)
mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi
design by Matthew Revert
produced by Jon Abbey
Marc Medwin, Dusted
It has four connected movements, so it must be a contemporary symphony, or maybe, as it juxtaposes speech and a soundtrack, then it must be an aural film or documentary. Does the music freeze the speech surrounding it, or do the continuously evolving speech fragments liquify each accompanying sound? Everyone Needs a Plan is all and none of this; its structure is as fluid as its form is fixed, and its harnessing of opposing forces defies categorization and fosters emotional reaction.
Simply stated, the hour and a quarter drama is unified by two voices, female and male. Each takes center stage, then the two speak in counterpoint, the woman camera left and the man camera right. During the final minutes, as the two voices in superimposed layers, center stage again, finally achieve autonomy. Matthew Revert and Vannessa Rossetto relish the rawly human while dignifying it. Crackles and distortions, heavily delayed and often dangerously close, bubble to the surface of a brew teeming with earthy flavors. This is neither the humorous body music of Roger Waters and Ron Gheessin nor the extraverted emotings of Luciano Berio’s “Visage,” though both are obviously signs along the road. Two Virgins might be a closer point of comparison, such is the music’s spontaneously grungy nature. Revert and Rossetto fashion a subtle drama via interactions in a space somehow more intimate and strangely publicly reverb-soaked, as if their kind of intimacy fared best on a large stage.
While the form is fascinatingly conventional, meaning is as elusive and direct, and as open to interpretation, as the human voice. “Hi,” both protagonists venture timidly at 34:36, the woman first drawing tentative breath and then laughing, as she does at several key moments. In this third section, they begin each sentence together, paralleling the dance of a classical symphony’s third movement, and the traditional formal implications don’t stop there. While it is unlikely that Revert and Rossetto are evoking sonata form, if the whole is viewed as a single movement, the first two sections do present a kind of exposition and the fourth a resolution. There may be textual parallels to this fancifully antiquated dramatic take, but the sound world itself is refreshingly non-referential where form is concerned. From the opening click of what sounds like a latch, allowing a glimpse down some sort of wide tunnel onto a dimensionally different but familiar plane, a subdued but dizzying array of sounds drift by, many center stage but several forming a delicate atmospheric layer on either side. Sine tones, a harmonium, microphone static and saliva vie for prominence in a soundscape that can’t decide if it’s semi-somnolent or hyper-alert.
Beyond this half-frozen sea of overlapping events of varying thickness, or just above it, lies the mystery, the marrow, that which refuses elucidation beyond the immediate and subjective. The voices create a close-woven web of earthy intimacy too delicate, almost uncomfortable, to observe in the subtly and endlessly human act of experiential creation. Deeply contemplative, joyful, embarrassed, sorrowful, timid and bold by turn, first in fragments and then more coherent, the human voice’s tender underbelly is laid sympathetically bare with an ever-evolving soundtrack supporting, contrasting, aiding and abetting its changes. The juxtaposition of rawly captured speech and layered score takes on different hues and exposes diverse relationships as all proceeds from single utterance, through the couple’s slow dance and finally toward the communal climax. Everyone Needs a Plan is a masterpiece of emotion and craft on a large scale, its own plan obscure and yet remarkably and achingly direct. As the final expressions of thanks and gratitude fade, I’m left hoping that this collaboration won’t be the duo’s last.