STEPHEN VITIELLO + MOLLY BERG
BETWEEN YOU AND THE SHAPES YOU TAKE
Between You And The Shapes You Take is the second collaborative album by Richmond based musician/sound artists Stephen Vitiello and Molly Berg. As with the duo’s previous release, The Gorilla Variations (12k2013, 2009), tracks are created out of improvisations and sculpted through editing. Molly Berg’s clarinet and vocalizations tend to cover the CD’s lyrical content while Vitiello’s guitar and processing covers a good deal of the textures. Two of the tracks on the CD feature violin by the multi-talented Hahn Rowe, once a member of the group Hugo Largo.
There’s an immediate air of melancholy and longing to a number of the tracks. An initial demo recording for the album was remarked on by a listener who said “I’ve fallen face first into a machine that erases the memories of an ended relationship as if it were a sound instead of a real life that fell in love with the girl again in the end.” A strange amount of truth exists in that statement and the entirety of it was momentarily considered as the album title. Instead, Between You And The Shapes You Take is a borrowed quote from Wallace Stevens’ poem The Blue Guitar.
As for the recording process, Vitiello writes: “Things tend to go best when Molly and I don’t speak beforehand or plan anything for the recording beyond a time to meet and to begin. We’ll play for as long as we can and generally find that the beginnings and endings are implied in the performance. Where the last album was recorded in my office at school with all of our equipment balanced precariously on my desk, this one was in a proper studio. It allowed for more isolation and let us take advantage of quieter instruments such as the acoustic guitar and Molly’s slide whistles and found pieces of percussion.” The final track on the CD is the only one that was recorded separately. It’s actually a re- construction of that fated recording that potentially contains the machine that erases memories.