Monday, 30 May 2011

Confusional Quartet (Elica)

My knowledge of 20th century Italian art is really limited and I can only refer to the Futurists, whose ideas seem to saturate this CD. Even though it's recorded in the early 80s, this is fast, has that punchy prog of Area but filtered through a slightly punk edgyness -- and uses short song lengths almost as a reaction against the bombastic solo-heavy approach I associate with Italian progressive rock. So scanning the (poorly translated) liner notes, it's nice to see Futurism mentioned. Which actually makes Confusional Quartet a bit out of their time, too wild for the progheads and too proggy for the punkers, perhaps. It's not like these songs blaze by at speed metal velocity, but there's a neverending momentum driven by a pretty fantastic rhythm section. The guitars and keyboards twist and fight, with a pretty raw synth sound that is the Confusional Quartet signature (though not the centre). You want chops? You'll get em - time signature changes, quick shifts, and a whole lotta tight - but then there's also something wonderfully plastic about it all. The artwork makes me think of Dillinger e morte or whatever the hell it's called in Italian, though that film's laconic pace is somewhat at odds with things here. This was a great band and this CD sets a pretty good case for them as lost gods, though what the hell do I know about Italian new wave? There is a danger here that I can't quite articulate - not nihilism necessary, but a propulsive blast into territories unknown. Of course, the music is all rock - it never gets too improvised, but rather stays within tight boundaries. I like that - there's a focus and coherence of vision, and it defines the Confusional Quartet aesthetic as a mighty one indeed. There's a lot of radio broadcasts mixed in throughout, and one gets the sense of technological saturation creeping in as a statement of sorts. The songs are actually pretty catchy too, almost singalong despite being instrumental, and even the '1Sigla'/'4Sigla'/'6Sigla' suite (which is a gradual deconstruction of one compositions).

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