Monday, June 30, 2008

Vanessa van Basten - La Stanza di Swedenborg (J)

Post-Rock - Wikipedia defines this as "simply rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes." Of course, nowadays lots of bands comprised of people who have only heard Explosions in the Sky (snicker) only once, if even that, decide that their music is also post-rock. This sends the genre into a downward spiral of tremolo picked, delayed leads over whatever the hell they want. In fact, it seems that the only defining trait of what most people know as "post-rock" seems to be that bullshit airy lead. Vanessa van Basten knows this, and they hate it.

Hailing from Italy, Vanessa van Basten takes influence from not only the classic shoegazers, but also modern classical visionaries such as Morricone and Steve Reich, and even heavy industrial like Godflesh. All of this melded together with a love for obscure Italian movies comprises "La Stanza di Swedenborg."
This full-length, released in 2006, ranges from lush, thick soundscapes, as in the title track, to droning melodic feedback (Vanja), and even American-Western slide guitar (Giornata de Oro). Melodies found on this release are unpredictable, at times, such as the track "Dole," which follows a very jesu-like, dreamy path, but this is abruptly interrupted by an almost black metal-like minor-chord-which-is-then-moved-down-a-half-step. Hell, in "Giornata de Oro," a slide guitar with enough reverb on it to make it sound like a dying rodent comes out of nowhere; it is almost frightening. Tonality on "La Stanza" is very fickle, ranging in emotion from happy-go-lucky, paranoia, loss, anger, and so on. With such a vast array of feelings, this record never fails to surprise every listen (which there have been a lot of).

Recommended for fans of Slowdive (or any classic shoegaze band for that matter), jesu (or any post-metal band), Ennio Morricone, Godflesh, nadja, and so on.

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