Salvatore Borrelli is the man behind post digital/textural outfit ( etre ). His work as Harps of Fuchsia Kalmia is long-needed break from this music, and a foray into other influences, mentors, and the concept of naturalism. Combining acoustic guitar, flutes, and a wealth of other hand-crafted country-specific instruments, Borelli infuses all of his influences into a sprawling folk-tinged 50 minute improvisation (all of the guitars being recorded in one night during a volcanic eruption near Borrelli’s home).
The guitar improvisations (often stumbling in and out of rhythmic and melodic spells) make up the backbone of this release, as others (including Celtic Drone Harp, Shruti & Squeeze boxes, Dulcimer, Esraj, and Irish bouzouki) often flush in and out--either in tonal perpendicularity or syncing up with the erratic journeys of the guitar. Working around the single guitar improvisations provides Borrelli with a more straight-forward narrative, and what keeps the album compelling is when all the instruments suddenly find themselves in sync rhythmically (even for brief spells). Though Borrelli wishes to invoke “the states of mind of Maya Deren, Carole Schneemann, George Bataille and Derek Jarman”, it is best to view and judge the piece on what Borrelli, in his own words, attempted to accomplish: “the spirit of play between free improvisation and the accuracy of composed parts without making any compromises”.
Does it accomplish this? Yes, and quite expertly, but mostly right smack in the thick of it, as it takes some time warming up to what you are embarking upon. Like any experiment under these parameters, a musician can either lose his or herself in wandering, or more dangerously, lose the listener. Again, Borelli smartly has a set selection of instruments from the get-go, thus every wandering path, every new rhythmic or melodic strain is in some way familiar. This makes the journey more readily taken, allows for degrees of emotional investment, and makes close listening deeply, deeply rewarding. 7/10 -- John Ganiard (12 August, 2009)