Frances-Marie Uitti and Stephen Vitiello - "UITTI/VITIELLO"
JdK 05 (2000)

Fascinating mini-CD filled with controlled improv and an effervescent freeform art of noises makes a "magical world of micro dynamics, swirling dervishes of harmonic twists, hoarse melodies on the Mongolian violin add to the mystery of this exposed-nerve musical world. A 20-minute journey through a land not yet inhabited...."

Links -- to the Frances-Marie Uitti website and information on Stephen Vitiello.


Frances-Marie Uitti & Stephen Vitiello - light up Huddersfield
Andy Hamilton / The Wire February 2000

Artists with equal commitment to Improv and composed music are rare. US-Dutch cellist Frances-Marie Uitti is one figure who has the highest stature in both areas. Reknowned for her performances of pieces by Giacinto Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Louis Andriessen, and Jonathan Harvey, she has worked extensively in improvising contexts with Scanner, Elliott Sharp, Mark Dresser and Harvey (again) and her partner for this Huddersfield Festival event, the New York composer, DJ and installation artist, Stephen Vitiello. Tonight they are joined by UK turntablist Mathew Wright and VJ Ferenc van Damme on hand to take live video samples.

The Uitti/Vitiello partnership dates back to their appearance at Cologne's Per/Son festival in 1997. Just as that event brought them together in a church, another house of the Lord, doubling as an occasional festival venue, reunited them for this one- off on the outskirts of Huddersfield. For this rare UK appearance, Vitiello left his prepared electric guitar behind to concentrate exclusively on electronics. Recently he's made a speciality of working with legends of the avant garde. His excellent dark hued CD Light of Falling Cars, featured another Per/Son veteran, Pauline Oliveros, but today's partner Uitti is a more obviously dynamic performer, and her compositions form the basis for Vitiello's samplings. Since Light of Falling Cars, Vitiello has taken a less romantic approach to sound meaning Industrial and Illbiant soundscapes figured prominently as settings for the cellist's real time performance. Uitti also played a Mongolian morin choor along side her two cellos- one an antique instrument built in 1710, the other fitted with a radio mic to yield a more abrasive tone. But with Vitiello occasionally processing her through his Sherman Filter Bank it wasn't always clear who was responsible for her cellos electronically manipulated timbral variations.

In Huddersfield she used her revolutionary two bow technique sparingly. To start with she employed it to create a plangent aching polyphony over Vitiello's very Industrial textures. |Towards the end she introduced the choor (an adaptation of the Mongolian spike fiddle with horsehair strings and bow) without disrupting the continuity of their 90 minute performance. For one section she layered a haunting cello elegy atop Mathew Wright's vividly crackling vinyl appliqué, even as her slow moving cello lines were being digitally lowered into a cauldron of bubbling and grinding electronic noise, out of which rose a counterpoint of tolling bell sounds. That Vitiello and Uitti hadn't worked with the other two had its drawbacks for the players-Vitiello later explained how a dead area near the stage made the interaction difficult. The problem wasn't evident in an ambitious performance of intriguing variety-which made for a welcome departure from the Huddersfield Festival non Improvising art music tradition.