Banjo Or Freakout - Banjo Or Freakout (Memphis Industries)

Banjo Or Freakout is a multitude of sounds and styles that will leave you contemplating just what's going on.

Released Mar 9th, 2011 via Memphis Industries / By Clementine Lloyd
Banjo Or Freakout - Banjo Or Freakout (Memphis Industries) Constructed and compiled by the Italian born Alessio Natalizia, rooted in mysticism and shrouded in contemporary elements of the ‘conceptual’, Banjo Or Freakout is a well-titled musical movement. Within its beautifully arranged strings, steady beats and swirling hissing snares, there are elements to be unpicked and put back together. It is a puzzle that needs solving, or not. Perhaps it is unsolvable? But it is damn fun trying to work out what the hell is going on.

One thing Alessio has regimentally stuck to within the folds of this record is the need to have everything rooted in equality. Tracks ‘105’ and ‘Fully Enjoy’ employ lyrical patterns as much a part of the musical ritual as bass, synth or guitar, dropping out and becoming louder so you have to really concentrate to form the words in your mind. There is a haunting tension, eloquently explored through ‘From Everyone Above’. Strings shimmer and swirl with cut-glass chimes, reigned in by the hissing snares, calmed in turn by the dual vocals of Alessi and an un-named female. Stemming from a recurring dream of drowning in a blue-green sea, the tumult of this vision is powerfully captured.

‘Black Scratches’ is steadier, somber in its chunkier drums and sustained guitar chords. Alessio’s vocals really come into their own here, as he harmonises against a harsh background of stiff beats and loops, forcing elegance through the sober equality of the arrangement. The creation of such torrents of sound that pitches and folds in a constant wave is openly enigmatic. ‘Black Scratches’ aside, tracks ‘Dear Me’ and ‘Can’t Be Mad For Nothing’ undulate in a never-ending swirl of colour, in whistles, metallic chimes and the hush of the high-hat, lyrics disappearing into an envelope of atmospheric sound. This found-audio competes with the produced synth, creating a plane on which the battle is both won and lost eternally.

This elemental synth explodes outwardly within ‘Move Out’, resounding in its quality of 80’s pop, hand claps and pedal drum forming the steadiest of beats, multi-layered in feedback creating a noughtied-up tribal frisson. Very odd, but enjoyable! Energy feeds into ‘Idiot Rain’, barreling like a flock of birds preparing to fly south in winter. Symbols crash within, signaling bridges and blocks rising up through the slowly lilting guitar riff. ‘Go Ahead’ expertly suppresses this energy in a less-is-more form, creating a buzz of power through the space between the spoken lyrics. Discord is used to devastating effect in ‘I Don’t Want To Star All Over Again’, where the lyrics eternally loop these sentiments in an ironic fashion, as the keys twist and hum, clashing against the lyrics in the whirl of a merry-go-round.

In short, this ‘imaginarium’ of elements (to utilize a film title) is a deep, dark and shimmering tour into muses and imaginings that will never be explained. It is a beauty to explore, though perhaps one for conducting whilst alone, meandering its florid corridors and cavernous negative space, awash with found audio, bass, guitar, snare and synth. A feat of fascination, it is not one to be sniffed at!