Carla dal Forno, who has previously been active in Tarcar and Mole House, has a thickly melancholy singing style that somewhat recalls Nico. Solo debut You Know What It’s Like is an album of highly personal songs, but, because this is out on Blackest Ever Black, it naturally also has a good deal of heavy electronic weight to it. A super-atmospheric record.
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Blackest Ever Black are a very early workweek label, what with their endless slew of muted, dour and spooky utterances, so I’m glad to be listening to Carla dal Forno’s debut on a Tuesday afternoon with an empty threat of rain. ‘You Know What It’s Like’ is a murmured adventure through synthesized hallways haunted with ghosts of some once-great choir -- whatever their story is, I’m pretty sure I could read it on a Bloodborne wiki.
The further in you get, the more its tensions take hold of you: by the instrumental segue “DB Rip”, I’m hooked, with a rhythmic element pushed to the fore of the utter darkness. “What You Gonna Do Now”, with its failed firework of a beat, gives way to a violin-synth line, the two creating a kind of cross-attack arrangement that makes one look over their head in both directions. With a sudden fade in of acoustic guitars, you’re almost reminded that this is the work of a songwriter, rather than the atmospheres around her. It’s fantastic, in that way: Carla dal Forno has created an environment so vivid you forget it’s just songs and music.
It might be a subtle record, but there are some unforgettable moments to it: the discordant flute that rudely interrupts the guitar-plus-synth drones of “Dry in the Rain” is a hook, in some twisted way -- we’ve got a flute in the office but when we do it it’s annoying, so you’ve got the juxtaposition of analog decay to thank here. “Dragon Breath” is like medieval midi, its halted chords and bubbling electronics mixing into the moment before a video game boss. This record all happens under the guise of grayscale, but it’s quite the journey.
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