CD, Boring Machines, 2010
Be My Delay, aka Marcella Riccardi, has gone and thrown me a serious curveball in the shape of To the Other Side, this one-woman musical powerhouse’s first release in the guise of this solo project. An initial reaction could be summed up quite simply, and rather colloquially, as ‘WTF?’ Subsequent listenings, however, have altered this opinion somewhat.
You see, if you manage to get past the two massive obstacles of an overabundance of heliocentric themes (tracks like “You and Me and the Sunshine”, “Toward the Sun” and “Cobra Sun” all point unwaveringly Sol-wards, and we all know how dangerous the Cult of the Sun can be if left unchecked) and very ethereal, verging on whiny, female vocals, you start realising just how damn clever the musical side of the album really is… From the eclectic (not to mention unexpected) instrument choices, including Tibetan bells run through a wah-wah, up to and including the incorporation of voice as more than merely a vehicle for lyrics – it all makes for a pretty impressive concept. Alas, concept isn’t everything, though – as any lecturer in new media will tell you, even the most far-reaching visualisations and hypotheses fall flat if the execution doesn’t measure up. And this, sad to say, is where Be My Delay loses appeal: despite its soft, subtle approach and quasi-psychedelic sound (which, incidentally, fits perfectly in a playlist alongside the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and Frank Zappa) there’s just too much experimentation going on to make the overall sound accessible to a wider audience.
Apart from this unfortunate drawback, To the Other Side remains a very intelligent piece of gear. I also think that it may lose something in translation – a live rendition, replete with looping, hypnotic rhythms and melody-matching vocals must be something to experience, easily putting the audience in mind of any of the previously mentioned acts of the early ’70s.
— David van der Merwe