martedì 31 luglio 2012

Autolyse - Show Me Your Wounds Compilation review on Rosa Selvaggia

NebO e la sua label Show me your wounds celebrano alla grande questi primi quattro anni di attività con una compilation incentrata sulla tematica del suicidio, ed in particolare sulle dinamiche che conducono l'individuo a giungere in maniera ineluttabile verso la tragica "soluzione finale". La versione in mio possesso é una delle favolose 49 copie in formato box, che include oltre al cd con le tredici tracce inedite proposte dagli artisti della label elvetica anche due preziosi mini cd 3" di Maurizio Bianchi (Autolyse appunto) ed Outworn, e tre oggetti legati al concept trattato: una lametta, un piccolo cappio ed una fialetta di sangue. I nomi in gioco sono di certo familiari per chi segue da sempre la label di NebO, e più in generale l'area sperimentale, dark ambient ed industrial nostrana; si va dagli ottimi Urna a Djinn, che abbiamo visto all'opera nel corso dell'ultimo Congresso di Old Europa, da Khem (già recensiti sulle nostre pagine con il loro "Come Forth") al progetto Icydawn, facente capo allo svizzero Sacha Rovelli; Sacha é attivo in qualità di chitarrista e sperimentatore dalla metà degli anni '90, ed ultimamente la sua strada si é spesso incrociata con quella di Aimaproject, che un ruolo così importante ha avuto tra l'altro nel concepimento di questa bellissima compilation. Bella mostra di sé fanno poi i pezzi da novanta quali Teatro Satanico, la creatura SSHE Retina Stimulants di Paolo Bandera, i mitici Sigillum S ed il padrino di tutto, Mr. Maurizio Bianchi. Penso che non sia necessario dilungarsi oltre: una raccolta da avere senza indugi. 

Artist Feature: URNA – VII + Kosmikia + Larvae - reviews on Heathen Harvest


Urna… This project has been one of the most consistently visually enticing projects to inhabit the post-industrial underground in the past decade, both in terms of the art that accompanies the music and the images that the music reflects into your imagination. Easily one of the most overlooked artists in the world of ritual ambient, Gianluca Martucci has made a humble career out of creating these recordings for the past 14 years, beginning with a tape entitled “Templum sub Tera” that, along with Martucci’s other project, Sagenhaft, and a split with Lesch Nyhan Sindrome, made up the beginnings of the short-lived but highly respected cassette label Ordo Obscuri Domini. This gave rise to the project in 1998, but wasn’t followed until 2 years later with the aforementioned split on the same label. From here, the project found some support outside of O.O.D. in Marco Corbelli (R.I.P.) (Atrax Morgue)’s own Italian label Slaughter Productions. This would be the project’s home between 2004-2005 where the releases “Lares”, “Osireion”, and a split with Kranio entitled “Stairs to Abyss” saw the light of day. Since this period, the project has jumped around from label to label, beginning with two releases on Abgurd (“Missadquumdahle” (2005), “Liber Lelle” (2008)), and quickly moving to Apocalyptic Radio, Quartier23, and the labels behind these three releases, Skulls of Heaven, Show me your Wounds, and Brave Mysteries.
As mentioned, Urna’s music and atmosphere is impressive on its own, but it is the imagery that often accompanies the releases that gives them so much depth. This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise though as Martucci is also an accomplished painter. His paintings and his music releases often take completely different visual paths, with his music taking on a very dark, spiritual nature that is deeply rooted in Far Eastern religions and occultism. One needs to look no further than the band name, Urna, or Italian for “Urn”, for two dual, very distinct representations of this inspiration. First, there is the Buddhist “ūrṇā”, which is essentially the marking of the ‘third eye’ that symbolizes spiritual wisdom and sight that goes beyond the physical reality that lies before us. The implications in this view are boundless, but there is also the simple view of the Urn. An urn contains ashes of loved ones or, in a sense, something sacred to us on a very personal level. It contains death itself, broken down to the basic level in which we return to this mortal spinning ball of rock, liquid and gas. So, in this view, marking Martucci’s releases under the “Urna” moniker inevitably marks them as not only something sacred personally and artistically, but it contains the very essence of the eternal abyss.
We’ll start our look into the world of Urna with the first album of this trio to be released, “VII”, which was released on Clay Ruby (Burial Hex)’s now sadly defunct Skulls of Heaven label. There are two deities featured on this release whom both find a track dedicated to their presence. A rather obscure version of Moloch is pictured on the front of the release, fires burning, requiring a steep sacrifice, somehow resembling a gate, an entrance. The back is an interesting, ancient depiction of Iblis, the Islamic devil, surrounded by animistic jinns, signifying the arrival, the end of the journey. Two sides to an aural tome. The albums opens up with a whisper in “Awliya Ash Shaitan”, but the track quickly evolves into a multi-layered work featuring all levels of drones, several styles of tammorra, vocal tones and a multitude of light, atmospheric industrial noise. Iblis, which one would assume would be the most abrasive track on the album considering the subject matter, instead surprises with a multi-tone, shimmering drone that is backed in ethereal style by harmonium and textured by any number of potential stringed folk instruments. This isn’t a violent track, but rather an epic one full of a grandiose wave of pristine sound. “Tubal Kayin” seems to be a track in dedication to the Hebrew biblical figure Tubal-Cain who forged war weapons, a composition whose loud drone feels like it missed a chance to represent the character more realistically if it had been a clanking all-out industrial performance. “Moloch” is every bit as dark in tone as the deity is, and “Hyksos” follows it up with a folk-laden melodic performance, utilizing many stringed ethnic instruments and percussion giving it an Eastern medieval feel. This composition is easily the most complex and impressive on the entire album, a fitting feat as it represents an entire group of people whom began the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt around 1710 B.C. It should be clear by now that Urna’s music isn’t a simple effort towards creating intense dark ambient and industrial music — it is full to the brim of complexities, from the music, from spirituality, and from history.


“Kosmikia” is, simply put, one of the most beautiful releases that I’ve ever seen in terms of pure artwork (not construction). The release comes packaged as a simple natural-toned (tannish) A5-sized gatefold sleeve whose contents fit snugly within a folded and glued pouch. The print is black with hand-painted shimmers of gold throughout the release that come out as fireflies or stars on the front cover and as a golden astral experience elsewhere. The contents include a professionally duplicated CD-R and five inserts that each contain a printed image that has been drawn specifically for this release. Each insert is printed on both sides and each image represents one track on the album, with the exception of one side of one card which reproduces the front cover without the gold presence. All images accurately reflect the spirit of the track title, though some — especially the Earthen subjects — are straight forward (“Caverna”, “Deserto”) while the unearthly subjects are obviously a bit more abstract (“Janua Inferi” [or "Gate/Door to the Underworld"], “Janua Coeli” ["Heaven's Gates"]). Perhaps the most interesting image is that for “Luogo di Morte”, which translates to “Place of Death”. A body is plainly seen in fetal position, but an ouroboros wraps itself around the body, creating an embryo-like shell, signaling the cycle of death and rebirth.
Of course, one could easily wonder what “Kosmikia” needs with these various subjects — after all, it seems to visually lean towards the spherical, space-drone side of industrial whereas the track titles spell out a textbook Urna experience. I suppose in this case, it would be best to see the album as reaching even beyond the cosmos to incorporate, literally, everything as the arrows on the front cover would subtly hint. Everything in the physical world, in the heavens, in the known and the unknown, in the conscious and subconscious, in life and after (and before). A theme beyond time and reason. An epic journey. Much like it’s predecessor, “Kosmikia” opens up slowly, only this time one a darker and more minimal level, focusing on deep mantra-like groans and foreboding, distorted high-end drones that come off as mildly abrasive. Later texturing of the track includes serpent-like noises, from long hisses to rattles. Cloaca is a word for an ancient sewer and is the next track heralded, featuring much the same dense droning qualities that the first track held. It’s highly oppressive, filling the room with a wall of sound. Suffocating, like the noxious fumes that would develop in such a setting. “Tempio Magico” is understandably a little less demanding, featuring a large amount of monk-like voice synth and a very modest touch of industrial influences. “Luogo di Morte” is even less tenebrous, focusing on a minimal Eastern melody that makes the track feel more ‘new age’ than anything. It would seem that there is a great variety of style here, albeit mostly seen through subtle shifts. In spirit, however, the music reasonably matches our interpretation of the album title.

By the time we get to “Larvae”, it becomes clear that Urna has become increasingly dark in recent years, and has focused more closely on atmospheric instrumentation including eastern percussion (gongs, Tibetan bells, tabla, etc) and human elements (as he puts it, “whispers, Murmur, lamentations, blood”). With that said, “Larvae” has a ritualistic atmosphere that didn’t truly come into its own until this tape. There were moments that were hinted at on “VII”, but it didn’t completely reflect the introspective essence and power that is found through these tracks. The opening track, “Kangling” is a great example of this ritual atmosphere — the very word itself reflects a Tibetan horn which is made from a hollowed out human thigh bone. That said, it’s difficult to feel anything but the fact that there is something here that Martucci reached deep back to find, within his subconscious, within dreams, within visions. It’s an emotion that spirals down to the core of our existence. That’s not to say this tape is all theme and no instrumental prowess — tracks like “Mu” represent a tribal soundtrack to a lost continent, where as “Hannya” is one of the most complex percussive tracks that Urna has ever created. The complexities obviously take their strongest hold in theme, however, with the aforementioned subject of “Mu” and the “Rakshasa,” whom are unrighteous spirits and shape-changers. A race of illusions. Thus, Urna’s music here has one foot firmly planted in ritual and the primordial blood of man, while the other stands in equal endurance within the world of mythology and spiritual vision. In its very foundations, “Larvae” represents the very roots of what Martucci has sought to accomplish with his work. Beautiful but undeniably foreboding, academic yet intrinsic — his music is full of purpose.
…and this doesn’t even begin to delve into the philosophy behind his paintings. We’ll save that for another time.

"Autolyse" a Show Me Your Wounds Compilation review on Guts of Darkness


cd | 13 titres

  • 1 Urna: 'Endura'
  • 2 Djin: 'Feu follet'
  • 3 Icydawn: 'A matter of deathstyle pt.II: suicide'
  • 4 Maurizio Bianchi: 'Mental depression'
  • 5 Teatro Satanico: 'Autolyse'
  • 6 Sshe Retina Stimulants: 'Volume destruction of cells through the action of their own vibrations'
  • 7 Twilight Angelhood: 'And then...Into your silence'
  • 8 Khem: 'I do aside of me'
  • 9 L:CH:M: 'Canto XIII-Ovvero del contrappasso dei suicidi'
  • 10 Sigillum S: 'Organoleptic improvement of complex and spontaneous ageing'
  • 11 Dead Body Love: 'First or last'
  • 12 Inscissors: 'Mortis (a posse ad esse)'
  • 13 Fehu: 'When we die as martyrs, we'll go to heaven'

cd bonus maurizio bianchi | 2 titres

  • 1 Fatal death
  • 2 Emotional despair

cd bonus outworn | 3 titres

  • 1 Autolyse
  • 2 I'm not
  • 3 Seine Name ist der Selbstmord


Il s'agit de l'édition limitée coffret proposant outre la compilation, deux minis cds en bonus ainsi qu'une fiole d'huile et un objet lié au suicide.
Quelle est la signification intrinsèque de l'autolyse, autrement dit le suicide ? Quelles forces, quelles pulsions, quelles souffrances peuvent conduire un individu à prendre la décision de mettre fin à sa vie ? Est-ce une recherche de destruction, de renouvellement ? Une fin, un nouveau départ ? Plus d'un s'est déjà posé la question, que ce soit dans des conditions douloureuses ou non. C'est avec cette thématique que le label Show Me Your Wounds a demandé à ses artistes mais également quelques invités de prestige tels que Maurizio Bianchi (dont les collages ornent le livret), Teatro Satanico et Sigillum S de travailler pour produire sa première compilation et une fois encore, le résultat est à la hauteur des attentes puisque outre une version 'normale' nous est proposée une édition coffret (celle dont je vais parler) incluant la compilation accompagnée d'un mini cd bonus avec deux compositions supplémentaires de Maurizio Bianchi, un autre de Outworn, sans oublier une petite fiole d'huile de moteur et un objet lié au thème (lame de rasoir, corde de pendu miniature, balle, pilule...). Morbide ? Certes, le sujet n'est pas des plus joyeux mais l'idée de base se veut une réflexion plus profonde qu'une quelconque glorification du suicide. Vu les groupes présents, l'approche s'effectue principalement dans des genres liés au dark ambient et à la musique industrielle. Parmi les options radicales, une oeuvre de Maurizio Bianchi portant bien son nom construite sur des boucles répétitives avec effet de cassure comme un disque rayé, quelques grincements en arrière-plan...En apparence facile musicalement, cette pièce dans la plus pure veine old school (qui ravira les fans de NON) témoigne précisément de l'état d'oppression mentale pouvant conduire au point de rupture ; toute la nuance est là, caresser l'explosion imminente sans jamais la permettre. L'ambient de Teatro Satanico soulage grandement les nerfs par ses nappes tristes et spatiales, cette voix légèrement vocodées comme perdues dans l'éther. Rien à voir avec Sshe Retina Stimulants qui, sans aller aussi loin que Maurizio en terme d'agression, opte pour un registre plus sombre avec un très bon titre industriel old school qui a tout de l'évocation d'objets chirurgicaux fouillant de leurs axes métalliques les terminaisons nerveuses du cerveau. Dead Body Love ne cherche pas à fouiller mais à percer, les sonorités bruitistes vrillent les nerfs, attaquent en strates uniformes ne laissant pas la moindre échappatoire. Tout le contraire de L:CH:M dont les atmosphères religieuses (samples de chants) laissent la perspective d'un espoir au milieu de l'angoisse. Comment imaginer une telle compilation sans Icydawn, pilier de l'écurie SMYW ? Le Tessinois opte pour une voie dépouillée et minimale insistant sur l'inéluctabilité des choses, entrecoupée de grincements comme autant de signaux d'alerte. Mêmes orchestrations réduites pour Djin mais pour des climats moins cliniques, plus organiques et nocturnes. Très évocateur et réussi. Se démarquant nettement par son aspect tribal rappelant volontiers des échos de Death in June de par les roulements de grosse caisse, la piste de Khem est également une très belle réussite et un des moments-clef de cette collection. Usant aussi de percussions, Fehu nous régale avec une forme de danse orientale méditative franchement jouissive. Une belle manière de clore le cd. Sigillum S choisit une optique trip-hop ralentie, une sorte de post-rock ambient apte à la réflexion, quant à Urna à qui revenait la tâche d'ouvrir la thématique, c'est par un morceau nocturne, ambient, empli d'espace qu'il procède. Ne pouvant objectivement m'attarder sur Twilight Angelhood, je préciserai que ce travail s'inscrit en complément de mon morceau 'Let them leave' mais dans une perspective plus terre-à-terre. Restent Inscissors et leur ambient néoclassique ironique mais rafraichissant dans le contexte plombé que suggère le thème de base. Je parlais de boni musicaux ; il y a donc le mini cd de Maurizio Bianchi (qui s'est décidément investi dans cette compilation) et qui devrait plaire aux aficionados de l'artiste. Un jeu de violon mélancolique est d'abord malmené sur fond de bruits rampant, technique réutilisée sur la piste d'après, plus riche quant aux textures et axant moins l'oppression sur la sècheresse des glitches, encore que tout soit question d'appréciation, la longueur et l'effet répétitif dégageant une impression de folie prenante. Outworn maintenant, il ne s'agit rien de moins que d'une collaboration entre Icydawn et le fondateur du label, le Brighter Death Now local en quelque sorte. 'Autolyse' dégage d'ailleurs quelques échos du projet suédois mais dans une veine nettement moins saturée. J'aime beaucoup.'I'm not' joue sur la scansion des paroles : 'Io non so, io non riesco, io non sopporto, io non sono' jusqu'à la nausée tandis que le flot vocal est progressivement malmené à coups d'effets. Efficace mais peut-être un peu long dans la durée. Le final, lui, louche carrément cette fois du côté de Brighter Death Now, ce qui n'est pas pour me déplaire, son défaut étant d'être ultra bref. Comment pourrait-il en être autrement ? Le passage à l'acte étant si rapide par rapport à la réflexion y ayant conduit...Vous l'aurez compris, les fans ont été gâtés, cette boîte au design soigné est un véritable paquet de Noël regorgeant de surprises. Si la compilation se suffit en elle-même de par sa sélection rigoureuse et intelligente, bien agencée quant aux style proposés, je ne saurais trop vous inciter à acheter la version box. Show Me Your Wounds réussit pleinement son coup, confirmant sa place de label créatif et esthète. (dimanche 17 juin 2012)

URNA "Larvae" review on Tiny Mix Tapes


The patience of Larvae is that of actual metamorphosis. It’s a sensual meditation using all the facilities of one man indoctrinated with fantastical mythology. It’s a trip to ruined monuments of historic excess and glorious divination. Hera will sex you up, Zeus will eat your embryo, and Poseidon will make damn sure you are shipwrecked after escaping Sirenum scopuli. Urna hand-feeds you life-giving ambrosia, and to refuse it, to spit in the face of the gods who wish to control your fate, is forgoing knowledge in favor of chance. The mysteries unraveled in the tome of Larvae are yours to absorb, to gulp until you are no longer thirsty. You have it all at your fingertips. Just press play and let the whispered folk tales become your new reality. Television is for the unimaginative, the unworthy. Urna is for the ambitious, the dreamer. Make the proper sacrifice and your godly prize awaits.