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STROBOSCOPIC ARTEFACTS

"Flowers From The Ashes" is the latest multi-artist project to bear the acclaimed Stroboscopic Artefacts imprimatur. There is a sensibility of decadence and corroded grandeur etched within its four album sides, reminding us that historically “decadent” times have nonetheless resulted in some of the boldest acts of individual and collective creativity. Like the ‘floral’ theme that has remained a consistent feature of S.A.’s graphic presentation, the music here equally presents fragility and intensity in a way that really drives home this visual metaphor for good, while still holding out the promise that similar creations will be seeded in the near future.

Though many of the artists involved have set of residence outside of their native Italy, all contribute here to make a captivating portrait of a shared spirit and cultural memory. The album opens with “Errori,” deceptively fragile sonic ornaments crafted and suspended in space by Blackest Ever Black artist Silvia Kastel. This is followed closely by the mellifluous, warming glow of percussionist Andrea Belfi’s “Spitting & Skytouching,” and then by the resolute electric bass patterns and luminous fog of “Lux et Sonus,” from Eeri label head Marco Shuttle. Hospital Productions alumnus Ninos du Brasil open the B-side with a similarly dense, amorphous construction built from tribalistic chants and rhythmic patterns, to be followed by Mannequin label boss Alessandro Adriani’s “You Will Not Be There For The End,” showcasing his distinctive take on the ‘paranoiac breakdance’ aesthetic of classic EBM. S.A. veteran Chevel rounds out the first record in the program by interlacing several percolating synth lines together into a richly conversational piece.

The journey continues with “Starving The Mind,” an undulating mini-epic from S.A. founder Lucy that is animated by his signature balance of seductiveness and concentration. The bright, biting acid synth tones of “PRV-HH3-X”, by Lory D, then takes a sharp right turn into an invisible metropolis ruled by reflective high fashion and hidden intrigue. The imposing architecture of “Virgo Rebellion,” designed by modular synth futurist Caterina Barbieri, acts as an excellent companion piece, and sets up the closing “4G” from Spazio Disponibile co-founder Neel - a crepuscular serenade that accurately sums up much of the foregoing activity. 


FORMAT INFORMATION

2xDeluxe LP Info: 2 x 180 gram heavyweight vinyl in deluxe matte-finish Gatefold cover + download card.

Deluxe CD Info: Gatefold CD in high quality matte finish.

Attempting to oust Thee Oh Sees for sheer productivity, Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani makes his second appearance of the week here, adding a label debut for Stroboscopic Artefacts to his excellent "Waves Of The Future" compilation. This four tracker perfectly embodies the hard-edged, aerodynamic style that Adriani has perfected over the years, a skillful distillation of the best bits of EBM, acid and industrial. The EP opens with the relentless mechanical pulse of “He Who Harnesses The Souls”, a sleek fusion of techno intensity and darkroom paranoia. The track’s cycling sense of urgency builds as one hectic sequence is screened on top of the other, with the topmost layer providing a gorgeous melodic sheen to it all. This is followed up with “Rituals (707 EBM Version)” a tense martial stomp designed around a classically effective sequence of 16th notes and bruising kick drum. As these elements intensify the feeling of inhuman discipline through a series of flanging and filtering techniques, chilly phantom noises hint at a state of profound mental and physical exhaustion. The B-side kicks off with a more contemplative and stripped back version of "Rituals", a deviously designed mirage of shifting audio sands in which many different elements (i.e. some hesitant guitar figures, wordless vocalizations) come into view but remain tantalizingly out of reach. The program’s conclusion, “Astronomy”, evokes something more like the cultivated patience of a private investigator on a stakeout (one who is, of course, equipped with all necessary means of technological surveillance). Continuous high-frequency tones, magnified sections of surface noise, and a multitude of other encoded signals all descend on the listener and like a sort of dub music for the ‘peak information’ age.


STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Alessandro Adriani on Stroboscopic Aretfacts seems like a match made in heaven, and the Mannequin boss does his thing majestically here, treating the techno fan to four tracks of Industrial/EBM tinged intensity wrought out of overheating machinery.

Lucy and Rrose keep their individual reputations for throught provoking techno intact on this stellar collaboration for Stroboscopic Artefacts. As with both of the artists’ solo offerings, these recordings feel as much like the branching off point for new creative acts rather than as objects to be passively enjoyed. As such, the opening “Chloroform” is a somewhat ironic title for a piece that is anything but anesthetic: at high volumes, its monstrous low-end surge and prickly, scintillating sonic ephemera are very likely to bring attention to otherwise imperceptible phenomena. “Peeling” continues in this style with a more urgent tempo, developing its own cascade of sensory impressions from seemingly unstable deep-bass loops, injections of intentional surface noise, and pitch-shifted / harmonizer-effected phantom phrases. “Stained Glass,” maybe the most straight-ahead piece on the record, is still a potent distortion of the mundane primed with shivering bell tones, tamed feedback and hints of speaker cones fraying. The climactic “Foil Gardens” is an elegant study in harmonics whose time-dissolving ability nods to the works of composers like Charlemagne Palestine or Eliane Radigue, without being a pure homage to either. The undertow of distortion beneath the glistening tone waves, in particular, provides a distinct update to the legacy of so-called
tonal ‘minimalism’. The end result here is a record that feels uncannily lifelike: an organism that always seems on the verge of a heuristic breakthrough, and whose full potential may not even be known by its creators.



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