The Arousal City

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“Keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo is probably best known around town as one of the driving forces behind the eclectic performance space Elastic Arts (formerly known as 3030 when it occupied an old Humboldt Park church), but he’s also an active presence on the local free jazz and experimental music scene. Along with saxophonist Dave Rempis, cornetist Josh Berman, bassist Anton Hatwich, and drummer Frank Rosaly, he’s a member of the group Get In to Go Out, which has a forthcoming album due on 482 Music. But it’s with his duo, Masul, which recently released its debut, The Arousal City (Creative Sources), that he’s captured in a much more abstract light.
A collaboration with Swiss reedist Thomas Mejer (who enjoyed a fruitful Chicago residency a few years back as part of the Sister Cities program with Lucerne) Masul crafts subdued yet colorful electro-acoustic meditations, shuffling cycled melodic snippets, hovering drones, gently rippling noise, and all manner of sibilant breathiness (courtesy of Mejer’s whispery, unpitched columns of air). Giallorenzo is credited with piano, synthesizer, found samples, and computer, and it’s to Masul’s credit that the genesis of any given sound often remains hazy, both musicians managing to forge a rich entwined sound stream where the subtle interactions are clearly audible. “Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader)