A true cult classic if ever there was one, Maria Monti is an actress who also made super intense, wildly avant-garde music spanning folk, pop, cabaret and more. Il Bestario is a twist and a turn at every corner, both beautifully pastoral and abrasively clashing. Its reissue via Unseen Worlds has ambient lord Taylor Deupree helming the remaster.
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This is an extremely special record and this Springtime reissue could not be more ideal: a record of growth and sway, Maria Monti’s deeply experimental, natural world pantomime belongs to this often lovely, occasionally tempestuous sunshine season. An Italian actress who just so happened to make gorgeous music that sounds something like a magical lucid dream, she gave us a gift in ‘Il Bestario’, here reissued via Unseen Worlds with a remaster by ambient twine-weaver Taylor Deupree.
I’m a relative newcomer to this record, but since being introduced to it I’ve effectively had it as the constant musical companion in my life. At turns, Monti’s songwriting was meditatively pastoral -- as on the piano-twinkling, saxophone-twisted lament “Dove” -- but she could also be feral, incensed and dramatic. In fact, just play the record and let “Dove” segue into “No No No” -- as the water bubbles around us, like the sound of a room filling with water, she starts yelling over flutes and stray piano trills. A strange, almost cabaret jazz sound sends the whole thing up in flames, the record sounding like the outdoors wrestling the indoors.
With synthwork from drone master Alvin Curran, ‘Il Bestario’ is in a constant, simmering state, unpredictable in its sustains and deviations. It continually pushes itself around; Monti defeies external logic by sitting gorgeous melodic masterstrokes next to stage-appropriate ditties, environmental sound art and tunes with an almost entirely improvised feel. It’s immensely evocative, the stuff of the weirdest dreams -- the kind that, given real life assessment, would seem absurd, but would never be questioned if they were stories told in your sleep. Monti’s record is its own endlessly explorable world, never quite at peace, but always worth traipsing through. It’s worth listening to a few thousand times.
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