Shortly after leaving his previous band Kirlian Camera, keyboardist Fabrizio Chiari formed the Italian darkwave band East Wall in 1982, going on to recruit Tiziana Wells (vocals, synths) and Angelo Bergamini (synths, piano) for the rest of the lineup. While their debut 1985 single ‘Eyes Of Glass’ enjoyed huge success in Germany, it wasn’t until 1991 that East Wall finally self-released their debut album ‘Silence.’ Viewed 25 years on, it’s curious how in retrospect ‘Silence’, now newly reissued on vinyl by Dark Entries with an unreleased bonus track and another track in previously unheard extended version form, represents a curious meeting point between moody darkwave and Italo-house, an evolutionary strand that perhaps could have been explored much further.
The previously unreleased opening track ‘Intro’ offers up a scenesetter more than anything else as martial synth-horn fanfares unfurl against a brooding backdrop of midtempo kickdrums and crashing industrial snares, the resultant track calling to mind one of early Skinny Puppy’s elegantly arranged yet distinctly murderous instrumental segues. Title track ‘Silence’, presented here as a previously unreleased extended version meanwhile sees East Wall’s fusion of darkwave atmospherics and propulsive dancefloor rhythms reaching full bloom as Wells’ goth-operatic vocals swirl against a backdrop of burbling bass arpeggios and gliding drum machine rhythms, and icy synth pad trails magnify the coldly brittle surfaces.
‘Ice Of Fire’ pushes things much further into synth-pop territory as Wells’ delayed out multi-tracked vocals stretch out over a backdrop of colourful synth-stabs and punching house rhythms, the cut-up and stuttered vocal samples calling to mind a more Italo-house centred take on Yello, before ‘Twenty Five Sunsets Before Dawn’ changes the mood entirely with a downtempo instrumental wander through elegant piano arrangements, refracted synth counterpoints and airy background ambience occasionally accompanied by subtle spoken words.
If the aforementioned track occasonally suggests an awkward fusion of Tangerine Dream-style New Age ambience and contemporary classical, ‘Angelo’ sees East Wall’s unexpected fusions yielding more fruitful results, with Wells’ operatic vocals given free rein to soar over an eerily atmospheric backdrop of glittering synths, sombre synthesised strings and clattering programmed percussion, in what’s easily this album’s most lushly cinematic moment. With original copies of ‘Silence’ sitting near the $100 mark on Discogs and an apparently ghastly bootleg pressing floating about, darkwave afficionados are likely to be stoked with this latest reissue from Dark Entries.