Christina Giannone: Descend (Idol Patterns, 2019)

Christina Giannone: Descend (Idol Patterns, 2019)

by Jason

Christina Giannone arrives on the scene with her Idol Patterns debut album Descend. The compositions move from sound arrangements to synthesizer fueled sci-fi to hypnotic drones. Hailing from New York, the composer presents the listener with five pieces that mostly are in the shorter range for the genre, but the second track comes on like a long form tour de force. Organic and synthetic all at the same time, Giannone’s feel for sound composition makes her sound like someone who has been on the scene for some time now. Texturally brilliant and sonically colorful, Descend provides the listener with a sonic journey full of surprises.

Descend begins with “Xiss” which has this throbbing, turning, slightly fuzzy sound driving it. For me, it recalled dreams of being in the engine room of the Serenity on Firefly as Kaylee discussed why the engines sound so inviting. As the whirl hypnotizes, bright synth tones sparkle in the spaces between the thrums. “Underwater Void” begins with the sound of running water, misty and flowing. This is joined by a vibrant tonekey that swirls about and adds light to the piece. The misty edges remain at the corners of the track while the middle grows more and more dense. There are wonderful, subtle surprises buried in the track as well, as twinkles emerge from the density and swells begin to fill voids like whales breaching the surface of the water. As “Underwater Void” nears its conclusion, the flow of water once again calms the listener, prepping her for the next sonic adventure.

“On the Edge” is the central piece to Descend and is an opaque composition from the start, soothing the listener into a trance. Drones swirl and trade presences while a wind sound cradles the sonic mass. The concluding crescendo is brief but breathtaking as the track fades out. “Descend”, the title track, is more subtle in its introduction. Coming into existence, “Descend” swells and subtly increases in volume as individual drones join in a cacophonous symphony. Half-way through the track, the descent begins in earnest as a rumble peaks and falls and gives way to a serene moment. More dynamic than the prior tracks, there are subtle movements here as volume, noise, and fuzz are used to an evocative degree. The finale to the album, “Configuration”, begins in a machine-like manner, hissing and pumping. Choral vocals float over the machines like ghosts. Perhaps we are back in the engine room of Serenity, effectively hearing the heartbeat of Kaylee’s favorite engine. As it began, so “Configuration” fades.

Christina Giannone’s debut Descent is an incredible debut in the genre. Carefully crafted and tonally aggressive, Descent is the beginnings of what I hope to be a string of captivating releases from Giannone in the future. Get your copy on digital at the Bandcamp link below.


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