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Maurizio Bianchi & Sparkle In Grey – Nefelodhis

Maurizio Bianchi & Sparkle In Grey - Nefelodhis

CD, Musica Di Un Certo Livello/Cold Current Productions, 2008

“Nefelodhis” is another collaborative effort from Italian noise legend Maurizio Bianchi. This one finds him working with Sparkle in Grey, an “experimental post-rock boy band.” The members of Sparkle in Gray lend their instrumentation to Maurizio’s tried and true skilled atmospherics, making for a very rewarding album. Although Bianchi’s trademark talents come to the forefront of the mix plenty of times, this album has plenty of spots where you might forget he’s involved.
There are various moments of beautiful string sections and noticeable guitar and bass. “Rainy Clouds Under The Sun: Cirrum” has a beautiful build up, bassy atmospherics swell in the background before a simple but wonderful streak of violin playing comes in to further layer out the track. This track has its streaks of noise but it’s always something that finds a way to fit in with the other sounds instead of obliterating them and overpowering things. “Rainy Clouds Under The Sun: Nubilus” changes directions, going more the electronic route. It even bears some squealing noises for a few seconds. “The Unpredictable Weather: Stratus” gives me a very unnerving feeling with the sustained and detuned-sounding piano sounds and the subtle tinkering in the background – kind of an accurate portrayal of a sky darkening and a storm getting ready to break. In fact, as a whole this album really accurately depicts what the title implies: darkening skies, rain, strange weather and so forth.
“Nefelodhis” is an enjoyable listen that goes across vast sonic territory, sometimes sounding something akin to dreamy shoegaze music and at other times disturbing noises and bizarre sounds. Although it covers a lot of territory, it manages good transitions so it doesn’t have the problem of jumping all over the place. However much I enjoyed the last Maurizio Bianchi collaboration I reviewed, I think this one is definitely a step above it and would recommend it to anyone who finds Bianchi’s noise work of old a bit stale.


— Charlie Martineau

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