Caligine – L’Autunno di Rame
The album is packaged in a humble, yet elegant black envelope made with high-quality paper. The only mean of identifying it without pulling out another, this time very colorful cardboard envelope containing a CD is a small strip of paper with the name of the artist and the album on one side and the name and internet address of the record label with the year of release. The cardboard envelope inside the external envelope hits us with a beautiful collage artwork with track list and band members on the other side. The first track, “Hastings (Parinirvāṇa Blues)”, is truly a standout: a lengthy (almost ten minutes long) fingerpicking journey through a staggering gamut of moods, ranging from melancholic to bucolic and pastoral. The whole passage is topped with nice field recordings, together making for a truly zoned out atmosphere (although it’s kinda strange to use words “zoned out” for a folk record, for I always felt this was more fitting for synth albums, but still, drown yourself in sound!). Next is “Una Goccia di Rubino”, almost as long as the first track, is all about vocals and lyrics – I truly wish I understood Italian, because I feel I’m missing out on something great. Acoustic guitar dialogue paired with emotional, almost whispered vocals conjure up an atmosphere of magic, like telling of an old folk tale. In some strange, twisted way, this track feels almost like a folkified version of Slint’s Spiderland. “Salagrama” is a skirmish of raga-like soloing guitar with dissonant and screechy violin (or at least an instrument similar to violin). This track feels closer to Caligine’s noisy, minimalist beginnings with their two volumes of Minimalia. “Arida II” is closest to a traditional song, with more lyrics in Italian and a nicely wrapped acoustic-electric guitar interplay. The last track, “Jack Rose” is obviously a tribute to the sadly deceased raga folk master Jack Rose, all together with an interview excerpt (in English) in the beginning. The rest is a sparse and emotional acoustic guitar solo in the style of Jack’s solo work. L’Autunno di Rame may quite possibly be the best work by Caligine so far – truly shows their potential and their will to evolve. An album which at the same time fills you with psych folk goodness and leaves you willing for more. More!
Teratology – I
Teratology is a quintet that has Gabriele de Seta (1/2 of Caligine) in their line-up. Teratology is an entirely different matter, so different, it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy who provides moody raga passages in Caligine: this unit is free improv at its noisiest, quite close to Supersilent, AMM and purely acoustic Nihilist Spasm Band with the members playing (as listed): “drums, objects, sax, acoustic guitar, loudspeaker, electric guitar, subtle electronics”. The album was released on Gabriele’s Monstres par Exces label and containts two tracks clocking between 12 and almost 19 minutes long. The CD comes in a nice package (you gotta give Italians credit for giving a lot of attention to make the packaging look as good as possible) with probably the most interesting cardboard flap I’ve ever seen. The bands mentioned above might give you a good idea of what Teratology sound like: sprawling clatter with hissing and crackling electronics always present in the background. The free and anarchic nature of the music seems to go hand in hand with the anarchic and anti-commercial message on the back of the package: “No copyrights, no compromise”. The group unwinds slowly: beginning with sparse, random sounds, gradually creating a deafening, bludgeoning wall of sound to which the phrase “take no prisoners” applies best (yes, I know, the phrase has already been used to describe the sound of Borbetomagus – which is also a good reference point for Teratology). I’d recommend I for fans of something truly different, those, who are not afraid to go to the outer limits and are willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of noisy improv. This project also shows how diverse Gabriele de Seta’s musical interests are – truly a Renaissance Man!