Monday, July 09, 2007

Roberto Opalio – “Chants from Isolated Ghosts”

As the oft-quoted Spinal Tap saying outlines the “clever-stupid” dialectic, so it also goes in experimental music that a fine line exists between engaging and annoying. Italy’s brothers Opalio, better know as My Cat is an Alien, arguably have unlimited passports to criss-cross this line with their whimsical take on space(y) rock. On his first solo outing, originally self-released on their Opax CD-R label, brother Roberto carries on the family tradition of improvising spacious and droning themes made from cheap looped electronics, metallic objects and toy rayguns. Recorded in single takes, the pieces have a meandering quality that fortunately keeps to the “engaging” side of the border, for the most part. The spectral quality, evident in the album’s title, is sustained through sounds that suggest residual energy in empty rooms that collide against the objects… rattling their chains in other words. This spent and evaporating force echoes through the deliberately restrained pace and limited variety of sounds. The last track is a literal chant performed mournfully and accompanied only by an open window allowing the sound of rain, traffic and distant thunder to enter.

Important Records

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