“Laurisilva” is the scientific name for a kind of subtropical forest, charactarised by the presence of laurophyll, broadleaf tree species and high humidity. Laura Agnusdei borrowed this scientific term, which contains also the same Latin roots of her first name, to describe the personal musical ecosystem of her debut album. Its six tracks invite the listener to explore an imaginary landscape made from sounds growing and layering like biological organisms within a forest.
“Laurisilva” is a hybrid habitat, where the acoustic dimension of wind instruments – explored both in their melodic and timbral possibilities – meshes with polymorphic electronic sounds. The high biodiversity of the record takes inspirations from Jon Hassell, Charles Mingus, Björk and Terry Riley as well as the “Fifth World Music” of Italian label Artetetra. It also reflects Laura’s eclectic experience as a saxophone player and composer, ranging from psych rock to marching bands, from acousmatic composition to free improvisation.
While her saxophone is often the leading voice of the work, it occasionally shares the stage with the trumpet of contemporary music player Elisabeth Lusche, the swinging reeds of Italian jazz musician Giacomo Bertocchi and the ancient flutes of early music expert Thomas Reyna.
The cover of the album features an illustration by Agnusdei herself, taken from her ongoing series of drawings “Organic Life Patterns”.
released November 29, 2019
Composed, performed, recorded and mixed by Laura Agnusdei during 2018 at the Institute of Sonology, Den Haag, Netherlands and in her bedroom, Bologna, Italy. Mastered at Bunkr Studio 36061 by Daniele Fabris. Cut by Jason Goz at Transition Mastering Studios, London, July 2019.
Tenor sax on ‘Epiphyte Blues’ and ‘Laurisilva’ recorded by Alla Blehman at Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Wind section on ‘Lungs Dance’ and ‘Jungle Shuffle’ arranged by Giacomo Bertocchi and Laura Agnusdei. Clarinet, alto sax and flute on ‘Lungs Dance’, ‘Shaky Situation’ and ‘Jungle Shuffle’ by Giacomo Bertocchi. Trumpet on ‘Lungs Dance’, ‘Jungle Shuffle’ and ‘Golden Kites’ by Elisabeth Lusche. Flute on ‘Epiphyte Blues’ by Thomas Reyna. Piccolo trumpet on ‘Golden Kites’ by Chloë Abbott. Clarinet on ‘Laurisilva’ by Riccardo Marogna.
Illustration: Laura Agnusdei. Art direction and design: Don Wyrm, with thanks to Stefan Fähler. The executive producer for this album was the international Restless Worm.
I keep going back and listening to this new disc by Memory Drawings, as it is all kinds of wonderful. Entirely instrumental, it features gorgeous hammered dulcimer and aching violins, and is a blend of ethereal sounds and dreamy orchestral passages with elements of ambient and shoegaze. It keeps hooking me in and drawing me back; this is an incredibly passionately emotive and meditative jewel. Eve McGivern