released February 5, 2021
Another haunting delivery from Italian sound artist, curator, and founder of USG and all its subsidiaries, Raffaele Pezzella. This could be seen as the continuation of his sound essays about how death is seen and dealt with through different cultures, one that started with last year's Ancient Death Cults and Beliefs (Cold Spring). This is not new territory for the artist, so he is pretty much in control here: we get his usual mix of obscure samples, manipulated sound sources, complex arrangement, and seamless flow, but, as always, he is able to endow his work with enough sense of growth to make it feel that we're looking forward and not sideways when it comes to his overall catalog.
Unlike his previous album, Raffaele doesn't aim to make us feel trapped and claustrophobic; these pieces have a similar aesthetic to Phantoms (2019) in that they feel wide open, but the pure subject matter is more than enough to turn it into a heavy experience. Nonetheless, as dark as Raffaele’s work may be, it is also very well balanced. As Martin Eric Ain once said: “There are many, many shades and colors to darkness than just black”, Raffaele knows when to attack and when to let the tension build up with minimal interference, instead of just giving in to the same old trope of harshness and dissonance to create discomfort; the approach is more “psycho-thriller” than “full-on slasher film”.
We transition from the ethereal, created by the intricate sound design, to the terrestrial via earthly samples that anchor our wandering spirits to the physical plain even if these clips feature morbid scenes: In “Chiangimuerti”, we can listen to the ancient practice of “professional mourners” that would cry and sing at someone’s wake. Thanks to Raffaele’s careful approach, we are spared an overly dramatic experience; the sonic textures surrounding the samples are discrete and minimal, thriving more on mystery and intrigue than on cheap jumpscares.
This Is The Darkness
With his latest release, Sonologyst (Raffaele Pezzella) continues with his reflection “… about life as a death spell… exploring various philosophies and traditions, from Buddhism to the old funeral rituals of Sardinia…”. To achieve this, dark ambient, drone, and industrial elements are expertly blended together – at times the end result is harsh and unyielding, in others it is more soothing and reassuring in nature. What this means for the listener is a rewarding sonic journey through the detriment and memories of human existence itself. Another impressive release from this skillful and talented musician!
Concept and mastering: R.Pezzella (Sonologyst)
Cd Design: Black Space Industry
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