19 September 2010

Rameses III - for josé maria (2010, Under The Spire)

"For José Maria" is a requiem composed by the UK trio Rameses III to the memory of Jose Maria Bellido, a Catalan athlete and musician who died of the consequences of diabetes.

Coming from Rameses III, such a composition is a kind of natural development, as they are always keen to confront themselves with a realist perspective and a refreshing open mind about the various potentialities of their music, never fixing themselves in a single category.

While totally in tune with their drone works, this 17 minutes composition is about reverence and meditation on the inevitable fatality of the human life, dedicated to José Maria, with the spoken word contribution of his daughter, Cristina Bellido, reading a text in Catalan, in the intro and later at the middle of the track, gwhich offers a ceremonial density to this EP.

Keyboards and processing are playing the main role here. An elegiac piano opens with a distant drone, while this one goes on, the instrument is later replaced by strings-sounding layers. With this first part, it is tempting to draw links with certain works of The Stars of the lid or Henryk Górecki, but it' would be  a partial misdirection because Rameses III is much less technical here and abstract,  giving an humble and sincere homage, more akin apparently, to the personality of the deceased.

It's interesting how the texture of the background drone reflects the noises of the city and the sound of autumnal rainy weather. Creating this kind of discrepancy you can feel yourself when at a funeral, after the liturgy, you leave the church and follow the hearse for the burial and you are confronted anew with these now estranged sounds from the outside.

With this last gathering, and the come back of spoken word, it is time to fully understand the deep and fragile nature of human life, with breaths, sadness and beating hearts and the music becomes celestial and turned towards a positive hope about continuing life, while keeping the memories intact inside the mind.

As the assembly finally disperses we can hear in the background of those lamenting drones, the bright chirping of kids, somewhere on a playground, which gives an unexpected, at first perplexing, but then rapidly meaningful return to the everyday life.

Rameses III-For José María (edit) by Under The Spire

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