Punck: “Piallassa (Red Desert Chronicles)”

Of course I could investigate why a label wants to call itself Boring Machines, but surely it's nothing of a program anyway, so I didn't bother. They have bands like Satan Is My Brother, My Dear Killer, Be Invisible Now and Whispers For Wolves, which sound like awful band names (silly label names is ok, but a silly band name? get real).
You could add Punck to be a silly band name, and surely it is, but I happen to know Adriano Zanni as a serious man of serious music, so things are forgiven at the start.
In 1964 Michelangelo Antonioni made “Red Desert”, his ninth movie, in the industrial area of Ravenna and in 1964 Zanni was born in Ravenna. This album is a tribute to Antonioni and to Ravenna, a place I haven't visited, so all I can do is believe his words about the «huge, cold factories and the polluted river». But no doubt these are mentioned on the cover as to indicate the nature of the field recordings used on this album.
It’s a long work (71 minutes) of slow moving sounds perhaps like an Antonioni movie. Perhaps the strangest element thrown in is the acoustic guitar. Its a bit hard to see why its there, other than perhaps to provide us with a counterpoint with the field recordings. I guess that might be it, as the field recordings part of this is water running, metallic pipe rumbling and birds - field recordings of a rather “industrial” kind - present in your ears - unlike the microsound posse who would need lots of plug ins to hide this.

In Zanni's soundworld this is not necessary. The wind produces the drone, metallic sounds the far away factories and water adds a melody, or spoken word provide a narrative aspect. When this is done, the acoustic guitar comes back in, forward, backwards, slightly processed. It makes a rather odd combination, which my ears had to get used to. Somewhere half way through the album, the thing gets more and more minimal, with a lot less sounds and more spread out over the disc and no more acoustic guitar. It’s almost if it's a second piece of music, although it’s indicated as one really.
I have a bit of a problem with that. The first say 35 minutes things were nicely in tune, but the second half is like a different world. Why not make two distinct pieces then? Both are nice, but both are different. Otherwise I think this is a very fine work of field recordings and electronics, and oh, a bit of guitar.
Certainly something a bit different!

Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly
Photos: R.R.

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