Unsettling and sinister vinyl from the catacombs below the Italian capital.
I’ve always enjoyed the exploratory nature of unearthing electronic music. Starting off with an artist or label, burrowing into backgrounds and delving into the detail. This, in a way, is how I came across the two Italian labels. Following my review of Lunar Lodge on Lux Rec, Luciano Lamanna got in touch. Unknown to myself, Lamanna and the Lunar Lodge crew have their own imprint, Knick Knack Yoda alongside their Love Blast sub-label.
The title of a classic Black Dog track can sum up the KKY and Love Blast style. No, this is not bleep festooned Techno; this is ambience with teeth. Soundscapes are punctured by bulbous 4/4 basslines and scattered shards. Whirling bars dart for freedom but cutting beats chop wings. Dark profanity mixed with soaring sainthood by the likes of Rotten, Lunar Lodge, Filippo Scorcucchi and most recently Further Pushers.
KKY describes itself as “Techno from the Vatican City.” Not a sound I would associate with the Papal state but there you go, you never know what you’re going to get. Both releases have been single sided 12”s, the first given some in-depth coverage by our own Philippe Blache, Souterraine by Гибель тургруппы Дятлова. Rotten’s Spazo Tempo EP comes from the same shrouded place. Menacing movements are paralleled by coldness and demonic abstraction, crunching rhythm patterns mirroring the viciousness of Rome’s past.
Distant Lands delivers leagues of depth. Hardware sings with retro-future hope for “Odissey” before “Faraway” sledgehammers desolation with writhing 303 bars and thumping machine beat. Bruising bass twists for “11°21’0”N 142°12’0”E”, bleeps and lost claps shot into the atmosphere . The almost beatless rinse of the title piece leads out Scorcucchi’s vinyl début, warped melodies dragged into an underworld of darkened ambience.
For their latest Love Blast have given the reigns to Further Pushers. Aperion floats in Dub. Beats are insulated, rounded and hazed. Melodies swim amidst softened bass and samples. The eclipsed mood of Scorucchi isn’t to be found here, instead a thick and dense sound smoulders. The “Dub Tool” version of the title piece takes its cue from the original, looping bass turning and refolding inwards.”Ritmo20” comes from a different place. Chords build, a pressure grows, an intensity reaching climax.
KKY and Love Blast now have some six releases between them, serving up some superb pieces of blackened House, alienating Ambient and toughened Techno exhibited. Perhaps what is most impressive about this fledgling label is its homegrown roster. Talent from Italy on a Rome based platform. Upcoming musicians with a message, a message scratched out with sharpened snares, corrupted claps, decaying acid lines and ashen moods. Unsettling and sinister vinyl from the catacombs below the Italian capital.