RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.
The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!
The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.
Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
Catania based four piece 'Clustersun' are no strangers to this underground shoegaze scene having previously wowed the underground faithful with their debut album 'Out Of your Ego' back in April 2014. Since then Italogaze has seen it's stock rise considerably with numerous musical outfits & collectives emerging from its darker corners to try and emulate the previous successes that 'Clustersun' had notched up both here in Europe and over in the good old U.S of A with some very good results and some shockingly unmentionable attempts. The band have announced (that much maligned & very very scary) sophomore album and it is penned in for release on May 19th 2017 via the ever reliable Italian based Seahorse Recordings with a lead single entitled 'Raw Nerve' dropping on April 14th 2017. They've named the aforementioned album 'Surfacing To Breathe' and it is now available to pre-order on various formats via clustersun.bandcamp.com
'Raw Nerve' sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of this track. 'Raw Nerve' is a welcome & surprisingly experimental return from a band who have been out of the scene for far too long and this in turn only bodes well for the full album release.
ARTIST: Shoegazin' Your Waves Magazine
RELEASE: Shoegazin’ Your Waves - Italian Shoegaze Compilation
RELEASE DATE: 15/03/15
There seems to be a real hotbed of musical activity coming out of Italy these days, especially in the genre of shoegaze. Bands like Clustersun, Stella Diana, and Klam keep crossing my path, and now we have yet another superb shoegaze compilation put out by Shoegazin’ Your Waves magazine (all in Italian). And not everyone is riding the MBV vein either, judging from the selections here. In fact, I hear Joy Division and The Cure as often as I hear the usual musical influences you expect from shoegazers.
For example, the aforementioned Klam give us “Depression Ridin’ Cowboys”, which would have slotted nicely on any Joy Division record. For that matter, I also hear a strong Chameleons influence in the guitar work. Give it a whirl to see what I mean.
Clustersun may have the highest profile here, and they’re coming to the US at the end of April. They also sing in English, which may make them a bit more accessible to some. “Planar I II Live” is reverb drenched with the requisite intensity, and leans more toward heavy psychedelia than shoegaze.
The Gluts could be in bed with Band of Susans on “The Thing”, throwing down those heavy riffs with aplomb. They must be loud bordering on insane in a live setting.
86 Sandals dials it back on “If” with watery guitar and a repeating woman’s voice. It is minimalist shoegaze, for want of a better description.
Allie’s Dope brings “Misread When Overthought” to the table, and it’s a pleasant, low key sort of affair.
Rev Rev Rev on “Rip the Veil” also sing in English, and have mastered the MBV playbook. They have the messed up guitar over vocals buried deep, and it works well for them.
“Smell of Rain” is a lovely but subdued instrumental from Good Morning Finch.
Kimono Lights offer the pretty “Aurora”, though it sounds like they are playing very far away from the listener.
Novanta brings their shimmering sound front and center with “Worthless Whirls”, and they have a killer bass line to underscore its excellence.
Add into the mix Grass On The Sun - The Corner, In Her Eye - Chameleon & My Invisible Friend - Eyes and we have a serious combination of great tracks.
Stella Diana close out the collection with “Navarre”, a song that flits easily between delicate passages and heavier sound waves. They employ voice recordings in one place, marking this as fairly different from the other songs.
All in all, this is a very nice collection of tunes from a talented list of bands.
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.
As I'm on the Christmas holiday break from the live show over on RadioAktiv//Underground and due to the amazing interest that I received from the last 15 track Mixcloud based podcast back in November, I decided to put together another one showcasing some of the amazing music that I've found over the past few months from different artists who have either been in touch with the show or that I've found myself by trawling through the tinter web. These artists come from all over the globe and I believe that they deserve support from not only me but also from anybody with an interest in what I do here on 'The Primal Radio Show'. So below is the podcast & playlist. I've picked 15 tracks that I think you should hear! I've also listed links to every bands track up on band camp so as you can all go and support them! Plus, I've uploaded them to the Primal Radio Show Mixcloud page so as you can listen to them on the go!! Just like Mix Tapes of old. Theres no innate warbling's from me on this episode, just bloody great music. Enjoy!!! - Del Chaney.
Listen To The '15 Tracks That You Really Must Hear Podcast' Here:
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Links To The Music From Every One Of The Bands Featured Here:
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Del Chaney's - The Primal Radio Show - 15 Tracks That You Really Must Hear Playlist
1) Novanta - Reasons
2) Follow The Sea - Sibirien
3) In Every Dream A Nightmare Waits - Transition
4) Lunar Twin - Cruel Water
5) Chasing Traits - Lost Cause
6) Clustersun - Meteors
7) Jeanseburg - She Never Believed In Gravity
8) UMMAGMA - Kiev
9) The Virgance - Propulsion Lab Part 1
10) Kigo - Never Knowing
11) Medicine Boy - Gimme Ya Love
12) We Came From The North - We Grew Old Too Soon
13) Winter - The View
14) The Lost Jackets - Caitlin
15) In Violet - We're All Dying, Says Sylvia!
Del Chaney - The Primal Radio Show - Dublin, Ireland - January 2015