petak, 8. ožujka 2013.

Spettro Family - Candelora (2011)

Muzika za izvanzemaljski okultno-akcijski film čija se radnja događa tijekom starorimskih i keltskih poganskih obreda.


Remember Matthew Akers, whose The Elders of New Detroit  I’ve reviewed a while back? Well, there’s a new “carpentercore” player in town, and his name is Spettro Family (real name: Stefano Iannone). But in addition to wonderfully polished and balanced 80’s-styled synth vignettes, Spettro adds some of the occultism and outer limits mystery which appears to be the staple of Brave Mysteries label.
The tape begins with an anthemic display of power (or maybe the powers of imitation?) “Post Partum”: a dynamic, yet somewhat nostalgic tune that begins in almost ambient territories, only to change to a thumping main theme which sets the mood for the rest of the tape. Spettro Family does not go for the simple carpenterisms though: where one might expect a cassette full of ultra-manly vintage soundtrack snippets, SF cuts through a wide variety of moods and styles. “1978 La Fuga” is a good example of this: it is a quick, even abrupt, transition from the dynamics of the first track to a melancholic drumless suite based on minimalistic melody  reminiscing the childhood years (as the title might suggest, even though I have a feeling Stefano wasn’t even around in 1978, but I might be wrong, considering the influx of “old-timers” playing 70’s and 80’s influenced music who actually were alive during that time, such as Panabrite or Stellar Om Source). Most of the track are short – they’re more like drafts, variations of basic schemes laid by John Carpenter soundtracks. Like the relatively calm, yet never touching the “relaxing” territory “Orrore the Great”, where subtle touches of sequencer set the pace to a quiet beat.
The flipside is set in a similar “80’s cop movie” feel, with lush synthesizer drops on throbbing bass lines, but with a few notable exceptions – like the almost ritualistic “Medjugorje” which contains samples of Lord’s Prayer recited in an Eastern or Southern European (Slavic) language – being Polish I can understand most of the words, at first I actually though it was Polish! This is one of the high points of the cassette – while most “carpentercore”-rs just try to replicate the action movie vibe, Spettro Family went into the more mysterious area, with sinister drones in the background more similar to the work of Burial Hex than Matthew Akers.
Spettro Family covers interesting grounds: on one side there’s lots of pagan symbolism and (probably) and influence of neofolk acts of the 1980’s, with Spettro referring to the cassette title being taken from Celtic and ancient Roman festivals; on the other there’s a fascination with polished 1980’s synth soundtracks and atmospheric electronics. Congratulations not only to Spettro Family, who managed to fuse two seemingly contradicting areas (the outsiderism of ritualists vs. the relative “mainstream-ness” of John Carpenter movies), but also to the Brave Mysteries label, who have an extraordinary ear for sonic curios and obscurities, being both “brave” in their choices and “mysterious” in their sound and roster. -

I can imagine that not being able to put a label on your music is probably the best thing for an artist to see when their work is released. As I was looking up information about this project, spearheaded by Stefano Iannone, I came across this album in particular which had a pretty wide assortment of genre tags attached to it. Without listening to it, you could in no way picture elements of dark ambient, industrial, power electronics, musique concrète, and field recording all coming together into a sound that is in any way pleasurable (or maybe that's just me). It's really not until you actually give an album like this a chance that you realize what good those sounds might do when mixed together.
As strange as it may sound, and keep in mind that I haven't listened to the two other releases that Spettro Family has released before this, this album contains very minimal traces of any of the styles I mentioned before. Whether or not Iannone abandoned that style for this or not, with this release, he has embraced analog synthe that brings to mind everything from the synthe-pop scores of 80's dance and sci-fi flicks to early synthe odysseys by artists like Vangelis. I will admit that I can hear comparisons to Riz Ortolani's Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack, I'm sure there are others, but that was just one that stuck out to me. This is, and this is quite a simplistic and general thing to say but, closer to the likes of early techno music than noise or power electronics. You'll find that this thing is able to morph from being interesting foreground music into more textural background music, in which I found my ears kind of drifting off into the background of what was playing and kind of finding some more buried synthe tones that I had previously not heard.
What I loved about this album though is how diverse it is, more so emotionally and textural rather than stylistic. While there are more, I guess you could call them regular, but that's really doing a disservice to how I believe these songs sound, I found that when things got quiet, Confessioni Di Un Depresso for example, they also got quite beautiful, melancholic, and dreamy. In that track alone, I felt like it made me think of those early Playstation fantasy games when I was a kid, I loved it, and to be honest, I got a bit teary eyed listening to it. But, on pretty much the opposite side of that, you have a track like La Signora Hammond, which makes me think of those scenes action movies where the main guy is in a club with people dancing and he's just looking for the guy who's going to give him the info so he can knock out the villain, think XXX (Triple X for those who don't get that by the way). I know it sounds really lame to kind of describe these things out, but each of these tracks really brought back found memories of when I was a kid and all the stuff I loved back then. Though I have certain tracks that I happen to favor over others, I think the only real flaw that sticks out to me is that it is quite a short release and I kind of wish there was more songs on it, but for what it is, fantastic stuff.
Even though I didn't know what to expect upon first listen I have to say that this turned out to be quite the good surprise. This is a great album and do not pass up the opportunity to get this album. Early sci-fi, action, fantasy, horror, and to an extent dance movie fans, who happen to love soundtracks, will love this as much as your average obsessive retro-gamer will. It's got your sexy tracks as well as your tender tracks, it's an album that I truly has something for everyone.
Overall Score: 8.5 - 

Despite what the name infers there is no family here, but this is the brainchild of Stefano Iannone, who composed and arranged every song.  The whole theme revolves around an Italian festival called Candelora.  According to the album notes, “The Candelora festival is also known as Imbolc in Celtic tradition or Lupercaria in ancient Rome.  Local legend says that if it rains or snows on 2 of February will snow for 40 days.”  I wonder if they meant Lupercalia?  Or, perhaps it could be spelled either way.  Well, I couldn’t find much on Candelora itself, but since it’s like Lupercalia, let’s understand what that was all about.  It is described as an ancient Roman pastoral festival meant to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.  In Life of Caesar Plutarch explains what would take place:
“Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.”
This sets the stage for the kind of pagan spectral performance that will make you an earwitness.
Using analog synth Iannone composes ten total tracks that can be very subtle and almost lie in wait but also shift into slivers of illuminative electronic splendor.  This one is all about the ambiance.  What is persistent is its eeriness that, especially when the track is quieter, gives one a sense of suspenseful anticipation.  It’s like being one of those ladies waiting to receive some fertility blessing from the nude passersby, or like the hope that the new year will bring good thanks to the the exorcism of evil spirits, the light escapes the clutches of the dark.  It’s all there.  A great minimalistic approach that is fresh and progressive.  Synth noir that is anything but indulgent, narcissistic, or ostentatious.  This comes from the brilliance of a true artist who’s doing what he does out of his love and interest for creating art.  You’d never know that this was a debut.  I would say that this is for fans of Umberto or Xander Harris that are looking for something more than a low budget vintage horror soundtrack.  Great album art and j card that match the theme and music perfectly.  Beautiful pro imprinted silver design on the candle smoke c34 tape.  100 copies.  Another fine Brave Mysteries release. - Dave Miller

La Famiglia Spettro (2012) streaming

Rio Lapis (2012) streaming

 Purely cinematic sounds here, dark, throbbing synths, chilling vibes and Italian Chanson samples. Perhaps a more exotic and refined Burial Hex meets John Carpenter, colliding with others from Steffano's home country. VERY dark full color 3 panel J-cards with art that is a dimensionless creepy house. -

Strigoi 7" cover art

Strigoi 7" (2011) streaming

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