minty magma: joe murray on ezio piermattei, forest of eyes and sindre bjerga

May 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 3 Comments
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Ezio Piermattei – Turismodentale (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.284)

Forest of Eyes – Winter Wakeneth (CD-r, self-released)

Sindre Bjerga – Dig Your Own Hole (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.275)

ezio piermattei

Ezio Piermattei – Turismodentale

Our Dental Tourist, Ezio Piermattei presents sun-dappled sonic environments for all you butter and beer lovers.

At a brief 30 minutes in total these untitled pieces combine and divide like a string of fizzing sound-sausages.  The somewhat sparse details on the back cover cite the dexterous shuffling of ‘voice, objects, instruments, tapes, electronics etc’; but that doesn’t really give you a clue about what’s going on here.

The structure has become the star.  The sound of the sound itself is the Diva.  Sure the bricks and mortar recordings are just dandy (door bells, balloon scrape, guitar/piano dollop, Nonna & Mamma voices) but this disc is as much about editing and sound sculpture as it is about creating goofy noises.

This bunch of sounds is moulded into a Devil’s Tower pile of mashed-up spuds; each part occupying a unique space stuck together with starchy ‘baaah’ or church bells or humming zooks.  But (and here’s the trick) nothing trips over itself or peaks into the red.  Sounds are allowed to play out on their own; distortion and volume are seen as showy and unnecessary with such a clear and deliberate palette.

Environments are precisely described: a cool drawing room with beautiful parquet floors, the busy school science festival, a tense family gathering to celebrate an ill-advised wedding.  All these imagined places as real to me, the listener, as the poorly-ventilated bedroom in which I type these very words.

Ezio does that great Southern European thing of being fun, clever and serious in equal measure.  It’s the restraint in these pieces (subtly harking back to a l-o-n-g tradition of avant-garde music in Bologna) that staggers.  Maybe it’s coz they get more sun or something but there is a real lightness of touch to this… Nothing affected or clichéd – just a joy in turning simple sounds into something new and exciting.

the terrified horses

Forest of Eyes – Winter Wakeneth

I’ve known Mark Wardlaw as feature of the Newcastle sub-underground for a good few years.  With an encyclopaedic knowledge of Black Metal, Noise and Durty [sic (or sick?) – Ed] Southern Hip-Hop he’s always a great person to bump into and shoot the shit.  A new hat he can now add to that freshly shaven head is ‘traditional folk guru’ with his furtive Forest of Eyes project.

I’ve seen Mark’s create merry hell in bands Pills from America and Wasp Bombs and witnessed his countless collaborations (ranging from teeth-looseningly dangerous to loftily high-brow) but this one knocked me for six.

“Why’s that?” I hear you cry.  “Is it too much for you old man?  Too crazy and wild for your Guardian-reader’s cardigan and rheumy old blood?”

Not a bit of it…this is a beautiful record.  But, on first listen, it’s just about as removed from obnoxious noise rock as I can imagine.

There are two distinct threads going on here.  Very proper, yet darkly pagan, unaccompanied folk tunes (some from the 16th Century) which I am guessing skirt round the ideas of Sacred Hart singing.

I said pagan before but of course that’s tosh…these are Christmas songs.  Holidays are definitely not coming for Forest of Eyes.  These songs hang on the cruelty and indifference of the season for serf and yokel; the freezing wind howling over the sands, fingers frozen, food sparse and the terror of the long night.

Yet with a strange twist it’s utterly modern.  Recorded with a pragmatic innocence on mobile phone and sung in an unassuming Northumbrian burr these tunes are relentlessly lonely, with a sense of 21st Century anomie.  They are a willing rejection of values and aesthetics.  In their own slow way they are as firm a ‘No’ as one created from an overdriven effects box or shredding guitar solo.

Phew!

Between each dismal tune Mark teases out an abstract sketch on Appalachian Dulcimer or bowed Psaltery.  What could be an awkward palette-cleanser becomes a sound-picture of winter.  The thin string tones are sparse and crackling like frost.  They have a fragility matching the intricate fern patterns ice makes on wet windows.  Even the crunch of fresh snow makes an appearance on ’11’.

Make no mistake…Forest of Eyes is no backwoods luddite.  He’s all computered up with his Bandcamp page if you please.  Drop him a line and ask for a song.

(Editor’s note: the image above is not the cover – it has none that I know of – it’s just the first thing that Google Images came up with when asked to search for the band name and album title.  Cool, eh?)

sindre live

Sindre Bjerga – Dig Your Own Hole

On first spying this disc I felt a twinge of nostalgic excitement.  Could Sindre really be recreating the awful Gaye Bykers on Acid flick Drill Your Own Hole in some perverted tribute?  Gosh no.  But reputations remain intact as Sindre presents two very powerful sets from 2013.

Track one is recorded at Oslo’s Polyfokt Festival and starts off almost dubby or industrial or something with stabbed-up metal clank.  Soon a rough-ass drone takes over like seriously pissed bees erupting into whale blowhole hiss and skeech.  Citizen’s Band (CB) radio interjections ride the valuable ambergris floating on the ocean as waves turn to glass and rub harmonically, filling the world with fat bulbous tones.  Prawns and shrimp crackle beneath the reflective membrane, scratching quietly to freedom.

Track two is recorded in the historic Klinker Club a few days later.  Maybe it’s the London influence but this one seems a bit more sharp-elbowed. The deep-sea drone is choppier, the shrimps more restless.  Their polite crackles have become guttural ‘ch-luncks’ and ‘hupps’ lurching in a dangerously drunken manner.  Machines misfire and malfunction.  Levers and pistons jam in their cylinders making the whole engine judder and splutter leaving me high and dry at 7 minutes in.  Woah…I envy the punters what got to see this as it all erupted like minty magma.

—ooOoo—

Chocolate Monk

Forest of Eyes

Sindre Bjerga

3 Comments »

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  1. Forest of Eyes RULES!!!! would love to hear the one you reviewed, Joe!!!… the one of bandcamp is pure ACE!

    Thanks for the ear opener here!…sometimes people complain on this online, but if you are at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean it comes as great to have my day made by something like this in the office bore!

    Miguel

  2. It’s up on the bandcamp now: http://forestofeyes.bandcamp.com/album/winter-wakeneth

    Cheer for the review, should point out that the song “Winter Wakeneth” is actually from around the 13th century!

    • That’s great Mark – much obliged to you. Post edited accordingly. Hop to it readers… Love, Rob x


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