MB & Dedali – Elektro Tones (Noctovision)

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Born in 1955, Maurizio Bianchi (who regularly shifts between his given name and simply his initials) is the semi-legendary Italian industrial, noise and ambient artist and critic (or celebrator) of contemporary decadence, who twice retired from recording, once for a full fifteen years, only to begin anew. An inspiring innovator as well as serial collaborator, he has worked with sympathetic soundmakers around the world from maximalist Merzbow to minimalist Francesco López. His partner on Elektro Tones is the apocalyptic Alessandro Bosello, co-founder of the ickily-named Menstrual Recordings, who began recording as Dedali in 2007.

Elektro Tones is “an overabundance of electronic tones mixed with great care,” a statement that risks sounding ironic considering the duo´s respective noise credentials, but it´s true; craftsmanship and attention to detail is what characterizes this very cold, haunted soundtrack. The first of four tracks denoted with Roman numerals, ´I´ is a huge, metallic mobile being played with wooden hammers by a kabuki ensemble suspended on wires like acrobats (actually the “elektrophobic piano” played by Bianchi), which is processed to converge into a monolithic drone teetering on the brink of an air raid blast, or the roar of the engines of the planes that would deliver the bombs.

MB is also responsible for providing “tonewaves”, while Dedali plays “elektronics (sic), antique tapes [and]neurological effects.” Each piece does something like the first, though in an entirely different way – creates a not-disorienting structure (looping, cycling), before being smeared like oil on a canvas. Or perhaps, due to the bell like tones that persist throughout, are melted down until molten. ´II´ is almost a conventional ditty, five minutes long, a high, light, if somewhat hollow phrase repeated on the piano over a roiling black background. ´III´ is anything but plaintive, as it plunges deep into the maw of a maelstrom concealing a vagina dentata nightmare with buzzsaw teeth. Inside the piano on the final track, you feel trapped in the belfry of an old church tower, trap door nailed shut, the wind whistling right through you. It´s actually quite a feeling, right down to the marrow; it´s beautiful, in a Gothic architecture kind of way. Throughout the relatively brief length of Elektro Tones, the duo truly mesh.

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Born and raised in Toronto, Stephen Fruitman has been living in northern Sweden lo these past thirty years. Writing and lecturing about art and culture as an historian of ideas since the early nineties, his articles have appeared in an number of international publications. He is also a contributing editor at Igloo Magazine.

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