RELEASE: Chiaroscuro – Italogaze 2018 

RELEASE DATE: 11th May 2018

RECORD COMPANY: vipchoyo-sound-factoryseashellrecords

In recent years Italy has been leading the European charge when it comes to the resurgence of the underground shoegaze sound. Italogaze, as it has been coined, has brought a fresh aspect to this much maligned sound with most of the bands within the scene embracing newer sounds and recording techniques such as modern psych rock, synthwave, vaporwave or even darkwave and deploying them alongside those traditional alternative sounds like postpunk, noise rock and shoegaze resulting in some fantastic pieces of music. In an attempt to highlight some of the immense music coming out of the underground Italian shoegaze scene right now, two Italian-based independent record labels – vipchoyo sound factory (Naples) & seashell records (Palermo) have jointly released a compendium of tracks by some of the most significant bands of the current scene. This new compilation entitled ‘Chiaroscuro – Italogaze 2018’ aims to be both a representative sample of the so-called Italogaze sound and a jump off point for new listeners. Released back on May 11th 2018 this thirteen track compilation is available to buy/download right now from both  respectively.

Up first are Milan-based ‘In Her Eye’ with a track lifted from their forthcoming long player ‘Change’, penned in for full release on June 1st 2018. ‘Closer To Me’ is a woozy fuzzed out slice of melody strewn, alternative led shoegaze with catchy chorus changes and soaring lines of lead guitar. It has subtle nods here and there to the forbearers of the shoegaze sound but there’s a modern edge mingling in amongst those solid song structures. Up next, Rome-based ‘Weird.’ unleash the sublime ‘Forevermore’, a shimmering cloud of sonic melancholy filled with hazy passages of dreamy instrumentation and floating vocalisations whilst up next and hailing from Milan, ‘The Mystic Morning’ unveil ‘Follow The Sun’, a brilliant alternative leaning jangle of intricate guitars and steady percussion swirling around duel vocalisations that lead the listener into that magnificently hazy chorus charge. Next, Cosenza-based new wave/synth-gaze trio ‘Electric Floor’ bring a sound that leans into the experimental side of post punk mixed with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a distinctly modern electronic edge to the compilation with the shimmering ‘I Made It Up’ whilst Naples-based alt-gazers ‘Marys Restless Dream’ unleash the jangling ‘Crazy’, a blissed out sonic thrill ride filled with mesmerisingly catchy instrumental progressions that ride woozy layers of reverberation with relative ease.

‘Lay’ bound aimlessly into the sonic arena straddling a tumbling percussive assault buffered by screaming feedback and the constant hum of bass. leaning heavily into the fuzzier side of shoegaze this track is a definite highlight on the release whilst up next, the Milan-based ‘Obree’ are comprised of Sara Poma (Emily Plays) and Fabrizio De Felice (Bialogard/Huge Molasses Tank Explodes). Their collective sound echoes a modern edge with elements of synth wave and shoegaze all wrapped up in huge swathes of melancholy. ‘Breath’ is simply beautiful and a serious recommendation from us lot here at Primal MusicNeapolitan dream-gazers ‘Stella Diana’ are represented here by ‘Iris’, a track lifted off their forthcoming and highly anticipated new album ’57’, penned in for full release on the 25th May 2018. ‘Iris’ jangles into the ether on repetitive lines of melodic guitar as it’s twinkling swells of synth dance and ebb through sticky clouds of reverb. I can hear some early post-punk connotations of The Cure echoed within it’s intricate guitar lines, some new wave leanings reminiscent of Echo And The Bunnymen and even some subtle Sisters Of Mercy vibes going on here also. ‘Iris’ builds ever so slowly and it gently leads it’s listeners into a peaceful break before exploding into a multitude of colours as we tumble through clouds of raging instrumentation and on into it’s blissful finale. Up next, Pisa-based quartet ‘Klam’ play post punk with a shoegaze feel, blending there sound with influences from 80’s and 90’s punk and indie rock. ‘Begging For Money On Fb Chat’ rattles on a layer of sequenced percussion as subtle swells of synth and intricate guitars envelope that impressive vocal take. 

Hailing from Milan, ‘Novanta’ aka Manfredi Lamartina has been wowing the underground Italogaze scene since his earliest inception back in 2011. Constructing well attuned soundscapes that soar through layers of synth-wave, shoegaze, electronic dream-pop and alternative sounds, ‘Novanta’ is represented here by the beautiful ‘Lovers’, a sequential, slow moving, synth led monolith whilst up next ‘Yellow Traffic Light’ hail from Turin and create some stunning passages of music. Their debut EP ‘Dreamless’ was one of my favourite releases of 2014 and I’m so happy to see them on this compilation today.’Fukuoka No(の)Future‘ is a driving slice of melodic repetitiveness that balances precariously on top of that steady bedrock of percussion. Hard hitting vocalisations swirl and ebb as spellbinding webs of golden hued guitars are spun capturing lengthy sonic refractions that echo through layers of simmering reverb with ease. It’s a sublime track and quite possibly my favourite on this entire compilation. The albums penultimate piece comes from ‘Bestrass’, a postpunk project from Bologna formed back in 2013 by Leonardo Cannatella – vocals/guitar, Iacopo Palasciano – guitar & Lorenzo Brogi – drums. Their four track debut EP ‘The Seasons’ was released back in 2016 and they are represented here by ‘Rain’, a slow moving, atmospherically charged slice of postpunk steeped voraciously in wide scoped reverberations with subtle hints of soothing post-rock. The album closes out with an alternate take of ‘Ripples’ by Modena-based psychgazers ‘Rev Rev Rev’. For those of you new to the sounds of ‘Rev Rev Rev’ they combine the well worn sonic structures of shoegaze with expansive modern psych sections that veer off very, very slowly to the edge of doom, and back again. Their sonic palette uses fuzz in all its colours, from bright trebles to muddy, abrasive darkness and this in turn allows them to paint relevant sounding sonic soundscapes that do not disappoint. Quite simply, ‘Rev Rev Rev’ are one of the most important bands to have ever come out of the modern day underground Italogaze scene and I’m so happy to see them represented here on this release.

We usually steer clear of various artist compilations here at Primal Music simply because more often than not they are full of self-serving cover versions, misrepresented music genres or are just monumentally dull in quality. But every now and again something sublime comes out of the ether that we simply have to comment on. ‘Chiaroscuro – Italogaze 2018’ is a captivating celebration of a vibrant underground music scene filled with far seeing musicians & personalities who together have created something altogether magical. In my opinion, this compilation is one of the most important Italogaze releases so far. It incapsulates a music scene on the rise and will surprise some of the older shoegaze fans whilst captivating all of the new ones.




Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream-pop, postpunk & 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 genres 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.