Gregorio Bardini – Sentinelle Del Mattino

Gregorio Bardini - Sentinelle Del Mattino

CD, The Eastern Front, 2007
www.theeasternfront.org

Jarring but gorgeous, electronic but acoustic, Italian musician Gregorio Bardini offers up an unusual blend of folkish samples and instrumentation set to cascading IDM percussion and makes for a mysterious journey. Though some of the cultural references were lost on this listener, it feels heavy with purpose.
“Ezra Pound in Mantua” sets the tone for the record with dirgy flutes and plucked strings, framing with jittering, caffeinated electro drums an except from the American poet’s work read by his daughter, muted but full of strange tension.
“Batsebka” continues with eastern pipes underrun with burning guitar and hefty toms. Lost, grainy grabs in German contrast and give way to thundering acoustic dirge, recalling Death In June. ‘World’ sounds often arouse cynicism from some electronic/experimental music fans, but here they are rich and diverse. “Wacht an der Drina” is noisier, more synthetic and grounded by more spoken word, alien but imperative. Wet filter sounds and drones weave icy landscapes and darken the mood of the album.
Noises give way again to Byzantine instrumentals like “Zalmoxis” or panoramic orchestra views like “Atla-Itla-Lati”. They’re all haunting but it’s the more dark ambient tracks that should make a bridge for those more industrial tastes. Brian Eno or Harold Budd are echoed with random fuzz disrupting the simplest, but prettiest piano motif on “La bottega dell’orefice”, a stark and moving track that stopped me more than any other – and all this before the disc is even done.
Closing with a combination of electro-industrial and neo-folk on “Umani”, crunching “Depeche” and the freezing, bittersweet “‘Laissez-faire city’ in the night” – a listener might be taken aback. Anything so varied and unusual that holds these pop-sensitive, young ears for so long is something to hold onto. I suspect I’m getting it on how it sounds… what it means is beyond me, but what matters is “Sentinelle Del Mattino” is an esoteric treasure.

[8/10]

— James Ryan