Gregorio Bandini - _Sentinelle del Mattius_
(The Eastern Front, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (7 out of 10)
My initial reaction was that a CD opening with a recitation of an Ezra Pound poem was rather unusual for a label based in Israel, in light of Pound's outspoken support for Italy's fascist regime. Questionable politics aside, Pound is one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century, alongside T.S. Eliot (who, incidentally, was strongly anti-Semitic), and Pound was hardly in the habit of writing fascist propaganda verse. The recitation is done by Mary de Rachewiltz, who is Pound's daughter, whilst the "true" Pound is sampled on "With Usura", sounding rather feeble and weak. The poetry of one Christine Koschel is also featured.

This album is rather varied, but if I absolutely had to place this under a genre, it would be neofolk -- but largely because a flute provides a bucolic air on most songs. Otherwise, the style changes drastically, as does mood: "Batschlia" has a throbbing accompaniment that evokes a martial atmosphere; "Umari" flirts with power electronics through its heavily distorted bass and vocals; "'Laissez-Faire City' in the Night" has an urban touch through the use of a saxophone; and "Wacht an der Drina" tends towards ambient.

His mixed approach is mirrored in the quality of songs. Whilst I loved the juxtaposition of the rustic and the martial on "Batschlia", some songs, such as "With Usura", sounded half-formed and inchoate.

The rating above is only an aggregate of my listening experience. Songs like "Batchlia" and "Worms" will have a long lifespan in my CD player, while others will probably not be played again after this review.


(article published 4/8/2007)

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