Knots, the new album from Milanese percussionist Andrea Belfi, is broken into four untitled parts. They are similar in palette, but each has its own discreet gloom and web-work of tactile rhythms. While his last record, 2006's Between Neck & Stomach, boasted diffuse little symphonies brisling with brass shards, lattices of guitar (courtesy of 3/4hadbeeneliminated's Stefano Pilia), accordion whiffs and even splintered voices, Knots wears its white space well. It's far sparser but no less beguiling. Contrary to its title, this is fluid music, as agile in laying out its coordinates as it is scrambling them.
The disc's first and last movements employ the greatest amount of Belfi's time behind the kit, though the trap set sounds as if its skins are scattered across the floor in a random sprawl with Belfi striking as he crawls. His arrangements sound similarly scavenged. An improviser first, Belfi seems to find more inspiration in just trawling through his toolbox, finding timbres and rescuing frequencies from desuetude, than appointing instruments to particular parts. Hence, Knots feels strewn together … and that may just be the point. Instead of the vending machine freshness of so much post-rock, we get a mesmeric, bacteria-laden ferment. Naturally, it simmers and pops, finishing with a sour bite.
The disc opens like slo-mo voodoo rites, Belfi underscoring his stealthily stalking rattles and thwacks with a deep oscillator hum, and closes with him hanging booms and a dusty shuffle suspended in a haze of soft fuzz – very 4AD. Between entry and exit, there are expanses of trebly striations, sanded cymbals, purring circuits and crunchy crackle like cracking wood. While Between found the composer attempting to "play" an entire house as if it were an acoustic instrument by making both its architecture and interior contents quiver through mini-earthquake-inducing currents, Knots feels similarly home-made. It's just the scale that's changed. It seems all that cupboard rattling and windowpane trembling roundly decimated its source material. Wind rattles loose planks and whistles through cracks in the walls. We're in a state of ruin.