utorak, 4. ožujka 2014.

Lucy - Churches, Schools and Guns (2014)

Unutarnji zvukovni dizajn mračnih, sočnih tehnoida.

Churches Schools and Guns. A provocative name for a provocative album of techno from one of the genre’s most consistently intriguing producers, Lucy. This, his second solo album, pushes forward from his debut full-length, 2011’s Wordplay for Working Bees, and firmly establishes him in a league of his own. Over the past few years Lucy’s label, Stroboscopic Artefacts, has became a watchword for techno’s vanguard – providing a platform for new artists pushing at the genre’s boundaries and a harbor for some of the most experimental work from names you already recognize. Lucy’s progress as a producer has followed that same trajectory, moving from relatively straightforward dancefloor-driven material to deeper, murkier places. Churches Schools and Guns continues on, a collection of 12 tracks that sound – more than anything else – like the act of searching. - www.stroboscopicartefacts.com/

Not content with running Stroboscopic Artefacts, one of the finest forward thinking techno labels currently on offer, Luca Mortellaro finds time to serve up his second album and follow up to 2011′s excellent debut Wordplay for Working Bees.
 Churches, Schools and Guns continues the dystopian fractured techno theme of its predecessor albeit one punctured with smudged ambient darkness. As has come to be expected of anything on Stroboscopic Artefacts, the sound design is intense with clever juxtaposition of techno against deeply evocative soundscapes and kinked dissolute explorations.
As a genre, and in quite a loose sense of the term, techno feels tricky to experiment with. The style itself being an extremely tough production call. The theory that it’s all “whomp whomp, bleep bleep and blam there’s some techno” just doesn’t float if you’ve ever tried to sit down and write the stuff. Which makes it even tougher to bend the rules and experiment successfully. However, Lucy achieves this here with aplomb whilst stylistically in keeping with the rest of Stroboscopic Artefacts output.
For the most this is an exercise in combining tension with moments of unfurling beauty—there’s also undoubtedly an underlying darkness throughout. Vocal samples culled from 1976 film Network intone “Our air is not fit to breathe,” “We know things are bad, worse than bad” and the album title alone throws up darker depths of the American dream. Yet all this suffixed with dream like synth shimmers and notes of strangely positive melancholia.
Juxtaposed soundscapes abound as tracks like “We Live as We Dream” pulse with stratospheric heart ache whilst “The Illusion of Choice” hammer out 4/4 reverberations against snaking modular lead lines. “Leave Us Alone” features a half cut shuffle underpinning a distraught Moderat / Burial framing whilst “The Best Selling Show” floats a creepy circus organ across frenetically bubbling percussion, conjuring up black and white imagery of demented Punch and Judy puppets. There’s even inclusion of Tuvan throat singing across a couple of the tracks—an extraordinary other worldly style of Siberian singing not heard, at least by these ears, within electronic music since The KLF’s 1990 classic Chill Out.  I’d love to think Lucy got a real life throat singer in the studio and have imagined further of seeing a Tuvan native at a Lucy gig adding live harmonics into the mix.
Experimental without being inaccessible Churches, Schools and Guns inhabits an excellent netherworld of dark technoid rumblings, sound design and synth abstraction.
If all this isn’t enough there’s also a fine selection of remixes available including a stomping tribal yet kick free Donato Dozzy take on “The Illusion of Choice”. So much good music, so little time. -

Is Luca Mortellaro's new Lucy collection, the enigmatically titled Churches Schools and Guns, as much of a game-changer as his 2011 debut full-length Wordplay for Working Bees? The short answer is no, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise given how startlingly original that earlier collection sounded upon its 2011 release (and still does today, for that matter). But that doesn't mean that his sophomore effort isn't thoroughly satisfying in its own way and on many levels. It's certainly an ambitious and auspicious collection that provides more than its share of listening pleasures.
In the three years since the debut release, the Italian-born and Berlin-based Mortellaro has hardly been dormant. Last year, for example, he collaborated with Speedy J under the Zeitgeber name, with the duo issuing a well-received self-titled album on Stroboscopic Artefacts, the operation of which is overseen, of course, by Mortellaro. The new album thus finds him running on all cylinders, so to speak, and in prime form on the seventy-three-minute release. That Churches Schools and Guns will be no paint-by-numbers effort is made immediately clear when the harrowing intro “The Horror” provides a brief intimation of the scenic and sometimes unsettling journey that lies ahead.
“Leave Us Alone” opens in quasi-Monolake mode with percussive noise ricocheting across a chugging techno groove, before the radiant atmosphere is soiled by the infamous rant by TV news anchor Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) in the film Network (it's the one where he challenges viewers to open their windows and shout "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore"). That the track invites comparison to Monolake is telling in another sense, too, which is that, like some Monolake albums (Hong Kong and Gravity, for example), Churches Schools and Guns manifests certain qualities that invite a dub-techno classification, among them ultra-spacious production, hazy ambient treatments, and thunderous pulses. The tracks' heavy textural emphasis likewise suggests that it wouldn't be inaccurate in describing the album as industrial-techno in places, too (e.g., “All That Noise”).
Numerous memorable moments surface: “Human Triage” juxtaposes surging string washes and a pulsating rhythm pattern to ear-catching effect; “Follow the Leader” overlays a throbbing strut with choral whispers and a Tuvan throat singer's eerie, low-pitched croak; and “We Live As We Dream” (the title an abbreviation of the Heart of Darkness line “We live as we dream—alone”) underlays chiming keyboards with hyperactive pops. But while Lucy is definitely committed to pursuing the experimental dimension in his material, he also isn't averse to letting its clubbier side show, as shown by the locomotive swinger “Laws and Habits” and the pounding, future-funk space-jam “The Illusion of Choice.” One final surprise arrives when “Falling” adds Emme's ethereal vocal musing to the dream-like swirl of the track's beatless arrangement.
One thing in particular is common to Churches Schools and Guns and the other albums that have appeared on the label, those by Xhin and Dadub, for example, which is that all boldly stretch the boundaries associated with techno by focusing attention on its more experimental and explorative sides. For that alone, Mortellaro's efforts and Stroboscopic Artefacts deserve to be supported and celebrated. As an example of the high regard with which his work is held, in 2012 he was asked to perform at the Rossini Opera Festival, whereupon he remixed the celebrated composer live—a request made to one electronic artist per year. - www.textura.org/

Wordplay for Working Bees

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