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- Volume Uno by Stromboli
8/10 Ant Staff review, 22 February 2017
‘Volume Uno’ marks the first vinyl outing of Nico Pasquini’s (of His Clancyness) Stromboli project, following a now sold out self-titled cassette, also released through Maple Death Records.
Stromboli operates at the intersection of heavy dark ambient/noise/ drone/ industrial with a deeper than your average soundscapes/noise sound that recalls Matthew Bower’s blackened psychedelic approach to post-Metal Machine music. Apparently recorded late at night during fits of insomnia, and armed with drum machines, organic lap-steel guitar, delayed samplers and a Revox A77 tape machine. This is certainly night time music/ music to play in the dark.
Things get going with the simmering ‘Drag Phase’ that’s something akin to Terry Riley being drowned by Throbbing Gristle in a bubbling pot of boiling liquid mercury. The record wastes little time in submerging the listener in multiple layers of transcendent, enveloping sound. ‘Downwards’ is as unsettling as it is soothing - with a warped loop that feels unresolved as it pulsates over distant chimes and smothered drum machine. ‘Haunted’ somewhat increases the intensity with brittle sounds that feel in danger of shattering as they refract through crystal prisms, all the while there’s a pulse that feels like the grinding of metal wheels on train tracks - on a journey that feels like it could derail at any given moment as sparks fly from hot metal. Beneath it’s harsh exterior ‘Drop’ feels like it’s communicating conflicting elements - both a deep sadness and euphoria. I guess it’s just a feeling that’s not easily translated into words and that I suppose is the purpose of the language of music in many ways. It’s kinda the feeling one gets from some Black Metal that just makes you want to punch the air. ‘White Walls’ comes off as a brief snippet of some fantasy Velvet Underground meets Suicide downer jam. ‘Arrows’ is like bolts of electricity bouncing around a hall of mirrors, while ‘Glow’ is like being dragged, bound, blindfolded and gagged through heavy industry.
‘Basedow Graves’ is a mournful closer - an almost dirge like track that relays a sense of closure - as if the mind were a computer and you clicked “shut down”. It’s not easy to discern an explicit narrative from this album -- in the conventional sense of it being a “journey” or having an obvious concept - which is really what appeals to me. It’s like being lost in a dense, grey fog trying to find your way around. It’s an introverted and emotional journey inwards - as if processing those thoughts and feelings that fly around the mind during sleep deprivation. This is what separates ‘Volume Uno’ from being pure nihilistic noise, and justifies comparisons with William Basinski, Cluster, Harmonia, Coil, Chrome etc. Although Nico Pasquini is really sculpting out his own very personal soundworld with a harsher exterior that rewards once penetrated.
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