Zu – skronking at the Bronson club, Ravenna, Italy
When it comes to live music I’ve never been much interested in seeing artists who look slick and sound just like they do on their studio recordings.
Performances to me should be an audio-visual experience that takes the listener/viewer into a more spontaneous zone; in other words, to be a one-off event.
But the case of Zu, a band from Rome, is an odd one. They have a new album called Jhator out on the splendidly named House of Mythology label and their tour dates are ostensibly to promote this fact. Or at least they would be in the normal order of things. The sticking point though is that the new album sounds nothing like they did on stage at the Bronson club near Ravenna last night. Continue reading
Caligine’s Anomia Mediterranea
Caligine is, to all intents and purposes, the brainchild of one man although,as Gabriele de Seta loves playing with other people, he prefers to define the project more as a collective than a solo act. He’s an Italian who, for the past two years, has mainly divided his time between the Netherlands and China.
Having begun in 2007 by experimenting with harsh noise and found sounds on two volumes entitled Minimalia, Caligine’s new album Anomia Mediterranea is a more luminous and melodic collection of contaminated folk music.
The title track has spoken words (in Italian) that are all but drowned out by insistent drones and there’s even a brief hint of Carmina Burana in there if you listen carefully. These inserts make the musical journey so much more interesting, it’s as if each track begins with the intention of taking a direct line from A to B, then gets drawn to a sound or idea that lies a little off the beaten track.
The longest piece on the album, all 12 minutes and 26 seconds worth, is entitled ‘Cani di Paglia Divorano Tigri di Cartapesta’ which roughly translates as ‘straw dogs devour paper maché tigers’. This surreal ,even faintly savage, imagery belies the lyricism of the instrumental track where a rustic acoustic guitar has elements of Jack Rose’s work with Pelt in which traditional folk becomes gradually corroded by complimentary elements.
Other tracks make me think of Czech poet-musician Vladimir Vaclavek, self-styled neo-folk guru David Tibet and Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny. In addition, a brief piece of improvised acoustic guitar (Blitris) sounds like an homage to Derek Bailey. Continue reading