Golden Salt released “Minuet of Madness” on June 3. What could follow a musical minuet? An allegro appassionato, light-hearted, and whimsical written scherzo-timed review of this composition. The start of the duo’s all-original musical adventure did not disappoint. It is a captivating piece that keeps gaining momentum the more one listens to it, eventually realizing that you are humming along and tapping your fingers on the steering wheel – forgetting all about the hasty and noisy environment beyond the cabin.
What is a minuet, you may ask? The word derives from the French “menu,” meaning small, and in music defines an elegant couple’s dance that prevailed for a century between 1650 and 1750 in refined European ballrooms. Smaller steps and choreographed figures painted figure eights and an essential movement akin to the letter Z onto the floor. A minuet is composed in moderate triple time (3/4 or 3/8) and is generally made of two sections: a minuet and a trio (in actuality, it is a minuet-trio-minuet form). One of the best-known minuet compositions is Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Minuet in G Major.” Is it going over your head? No worries, it is a light explanation of the word and its meaning.
Golden Salt’s “Minuet of Madness” is a vertiginous permutation of lesser-known classical (minuet and baroque) and modern (house) beats, effortlessly transitioning into one another. Beyond violin and electric guitar, individual parts come to life, conveying the idea of an outrageously bizarre yet exultant sentient journey that makes perfect sense. Harpsichord, viola, bass, percussion – even the gurgling, bubbling water sounds come together harmoniously, a quasi-impossible yet thrilling symphony where notes, solos, pauses, and rhythms flow from veins to riptides and back. It is a masterful lesson in musical aptitude.
This astonishing composition has more than one hundred and eighty-five seconds of pure musical amusement. Music is subjective yet relatable regardless of genre if it delivers a clear message – in this case, the inference is disobedient, unruly yet methodical, and straightforward. If the sections in a minuet are functions of exposition, contrast, and recapitulation, then this piece exemplifies them in musical terms and perfectly synchronous emotional and visual rendering. Mad genius! It works, it pulls in, and it sticks.
The official video documentary accompanying “Minuet of Madness” is a skilled, superbly produced, and filmed narration of a rip current journey above and below salt water, breathing through curiosity, wonderment, synergy, and an invitation to the unusual and rejection of the usual, ultimately composing a mad though gratifying musical and emotional score of possibilities. With this breathless description aside, I wondered what happened to the empty bottle after the dive into the water took place. Where did it go? It is nowhere to be seen. Maybe there is a message in the missing bottle? Maddening. Wink. Where did the journey start? Above or below? Bubbles traverse and reverse; perhaps a dare to entrain the water to produce upward drag, lowering its fluid density? Crazy and exciting! The sassiness, joyfulness, and madness are palpable in every note. Leaving the listener, and the viewer, wanting more.
In the documentary, guitarist Eleonora Loi states, “We created our own world with ‘Minuet of Madness,’ a world that was born from Corelli’s ‘Follia,’ yet nothing is left of it. This makes us wonder and smile when we think, ‘but what is our audience left with when listening to our piece? What would they improvise at the piano if ‘Minuet of Madness’ were prompted? It is as if there would be many minuets of madness, one for each listener.”
Everyone has an individual response to anything we see, hear, or touch. I can only write about the emotion and reaction a composition prompts in me upon first listening. Given the pure unrestrained talent in this piece, what could have been a simple plethora of comments and critiques resulted in a “mad” articulation of my own, albeit not musical, but in lyrical poetry form – thereby accepting the hypothetical challenge.
Grazie, sussurra a denti stretti – prende la bottiglia e osserva, determinata
Occhi risoluti, respiro stentato, riversa il contenuto, lentamente
Libera, si tuffa in quella dimensione eterea fra tangibile e intangibile
Decisa, calcia più a fondo, attirata da un suono sentito a malapena
Eppure, così familiare, così intessuto nella sua anima, risonante
Non si sofferma, cerca, trova un assolo in sintonia inaspettata, follia
Strano, il movimento avanti e indietro, dentro e fuori da una folle rotazione
Acquea, quella sensazione di appartenenza e di estraneità
Limpido, il desiderio sconsiderato di lasciarsi andare e unirsi
Tacita, la comprensione e la profonda conoscenza dell’ignoto, così salato
Maestrale, la corrente sotterranea dentro e sopra le onde della follia
Irresistibile, la riunificazione di mente e spirito nell’assenza di gravità
Narrazione di una nota dissonante ma sintonizzata di armonie liberatorie
Univoca nota cristallina sul sedicesimo tasto, come un’aquila fiera
Equivoco, un eco di temerarietà dalla tavola armonica di un’anima gemella
Timida e audace, indecisa e sfrontata, prende forma una melodia senza eguali
Osmosi spavalda tra il profondo e il cielo, l’infinito al quadrato
Fiotto di note, lieve sorpresa ma fortemente riconoscibile, irresistibile
Marcata perdutamente da quel timbro intrigante di imprudenza, reagisce
Afflusso proiettato indietro sulla terraferma, consumato ma inesauribile
Discernibile fotosfera priva del mistero accecante dall’interno addolcita all’esterno
Nebulose a riflessione, si rivelano stelle luminose su un orizzonte piatto
Effervescenti, emergono da un mare di follia rivelatrice, unisono istintivamente forgiato
Sputando indietro forza vitale per riempire i polmoni agonizzanti in cerca di conferma
Si rivelano come un unico respiro arguto senza esitazione, follemente audace.
Grateful, she whispers through clenched teeth as she takes the bottle and watches, determined
Ominously resolute eyes, slowly breathing, she pours out the contents, slowly
Liberated, she dives into that ethereal dimension between tangible and intangible
Determined, she kicks deeper, attracted by a sound barely heard
Eerie, yet so familiar, so woven into her soul, evocative
No, she does not linger; she searches; she finds a solo in unexpected harmony, madness
Strange, the back-and-forth motion, in and out of a mad spin
Aqueous, that feeling of belonging and strangeness
Limpid, the reckless desire to let go and unite
Tacit, understanding, and deep knowledge of the unknown, so salty
Mistral, the undercurrent in and above the waves of madness
Irresistible, the reunification of mind and spirit in the absence of gravity
Narration of a dissonant but tweaked note of liberating harmonies
Unique crystalline note on the sixteenth fret – the call of a proud eagle
Equivocal, an echo of recklessness from the soundboard of a soul mate
Timid and daring, indecisive and brazen, an unparalleled melody takes shape
Obvious osmosis between the depths and the sky, infinity squared
Flow of notes, slightly surprising although highly recognizable, irresistible
Miserably marked by that intriguing stamp of imprudence, she reacts
Appearance projected back to the mainland, consumed but inexhaustible
Discernible photosphere devoid of the blinding mystery from the inside softened on the outside
Nearly reflection nebulae – bright stars painted against a flat horizon
Effervescent, they emerge from a sea of revealing madness, instinctively forged in unison
Spitting life force back to fill the agonizing lungs for ratification
Showing themselves as a single witty breath without hesitation – ardently bold