Italian experimentalists Andrea Bellentani and Simon Maccari have already released one album as The Diaphanoids [I’m sure that every time I type that in this review I’m going to go back and check I’ve spelt it correctly – embarrassment may well follow I fear], Astral Weekends, released in 2009 on Bear Funk Records, but that’s not a record that I’m familiar with, so I start from scratch with their second offering, LSME which will appear on Tirk Records at the end of April.
Now, yesterday I was writing about Kev Ellis and his Space Cadet album, and talking about how it seemed to be about a musician making space-rock fun by using all the standard components of the genre to just have a good time with making music. The Diaphanoids is a very different prospect, a quite serious suite of sounds, cavernous and weird, sounding big and deep and unearthly in a Radiophonic Workshop sort of way but with a Krautrock sense underneath it, a uncomfortable and challenging listen, a sonic assault or aural exploration. So we get things such as ‘55th Dimension Nervous Breakdown’ which is a noisefest where the rhythms are the key, starting out a little akin to the entry into Space Ritual, or its linking points, invoking hollowness, apparition, ethereal, unknowable and moving into a discordant and disjointed psychedelia… haunting and unsettling. It’s a mind journey, really. When it starts with more conventional, relaxing, soundscapes it still develops or devolves into that mesh of experimental generation of sounds – as in ‘You Can’t Shine If You Don’t Burn’, a quite absorbing and cleansing piece in many ways.
‘How Can I Distinguish Sky From Earth If They Keep On Changing Their Place’ [Are they challenging Sendelica for longest song titles I wonder?], has a Turner-esque feel to it in early places, and ‘All The Constellations Aren’t Worth A Pinpoint Of Liquid Light In Your Eyes’ is a slow, sonorous, mood piece that’s like diving into inky blackness and feeling the weightless of eternity wrapping itself around you, folding you into itself and taking you deeper and deeper, the atmospheric highlight of this suite. The title track works the tried and trusted route of playing around a simple theme, just as ‘Our Own Private Elsewhere’ does, and again they’re playing with sounds and noises across that starting layer.
The play-out track, ‘These Nights Wear Three Heads, Five Arms, And Ten Legs’ is another cacophony of swirling experimentalism, cavernous again in the way those linking sections in Space Ritual are – a collision of space-rock, Kosmische and Kraut. It’s a fascinating and tense collection of instrumentals, industrial and ethereal by turn, demanding of its listener but intriguingly good work.