Being a fan of musique concrete, experimental electronica and noises that sound like agitated robots squabbling over the control buttons of an old reel to reel, the first track of this album I listened to, ‘Subaqueo tricky flirt (m’àggia guardà attuorn)’, had instant appeal to me. The track initially grabbed me because it reminded me of my temporal lobe struggling to remember how to make a cup of tea with a Kafkaesque hangover. Then the untethered noises assembled themselves into some semblance of a groove that can even be danced to. This was unexpected, and pleasant – because I like dance music. (Not sure what kind of dance yet, but I’m on it: something involving tight spandex and authentic wooden clogs; probably.) I was also taken by the charming album title, (Cunti) as I’m a fan of misspelt, well-used profanity.
It became apparent that Reptilian Expo (real name Riccardo Patrone), knows how to construct well thought out dance beats, and by the time you get to track 9 (‘jelly world bonus’), that they’ve evidently been at it for a while and know exactly what they’re doing.
There’s a large dash of creepy Philip K. Dick sci-fi in here, too – small mechanical things scuttling around a musical gutter: synthetic voices that sound like sinister toys – the beeping aftermath of a hand grenade thrown into a robotics laboratory; while something bouncy playfully kicks a Minimoog down a fire escape.
I can imagine some people might find parts of this album difficult, and those who don’t will probably love it. All the tracks are pretty short and well crafted, and all left me wanting more. Track 4 (‘lode al nodo’ feat. carlaz) is even creepily sweet and almost dips into chanson pop here and there; but never quite, because there is something unsettling going on.
I have a sneaking feeling that in the future, this is going to be one of those albums that once it’s on I’ll have to listen to it all. It’s sneakily uplifting – like a soundscape to a good science fiction film I want to get to know better. I’m not exactly sure what kind of film yet –something set on a semi-aquatic, swamp-word, populated with croaking amphibious things that never quite reveal themselves through the dense, murky atmosphere.
Cunti is released through Artetetra – pre-order via Bandcamp
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Review by Fanny Hamper