While in Italy, I’ve managed to talk my musically educated friends to provide me with some tunes to combat the dearth of interesting music you can get on the radio around here. Giulio (one of them, obviously) gave me 3 audio CDs with a compilation of new things.
After listening to them for a while, I can safely conclude that it’s another much needed kick in the pants, similar to 1976 (punk), 1980 (wave) and the early 90s (electronica). Ladytron, Alpinestars, Freezepop, Miss Kittin and The Hacker are a gorgeous breath of fresh air in the “new grunge” desolated musical landscape. These groups strip commonly accepted melodies to their bare essentials and rebuild them with a healthy disregard for manual skills, putting their brains to work instead of mere monkey-like fondling of guitars and other assorted paleoinstruments.
This means synthetic sounds. Very little use of samples, not a lot of digital synthesis, but a nice retro-futuristic look at analogue vintage synths. 80s Korgs and Moogs are prominent along with drum machines and sequencers that have 303 or 606 in their names.
The use of non natural sounds (a concept I don’t completely agree with, but it’s something for another post) makes for a listening experience that removes unnecessary layers of audio complexity thus leaving the listener (me, in this case) with a pretty much exposed view of the artists’ brain inner workings. Sometimes, with not-so-talented people, this is quite ugly, as there are no production curtains, tapestries or manual skills covering the lack of ideas, but in these fine selections it’s like looking at snowy mountain peaks from an airplane at 15,000ft. Cold, untouchable, absolute beauty.
If there’s some interest, I may have a special episode of Radio Paolo in the near future 🙂