Sunday, 3 June 2012

Nastro - 300mq (2012)

I'm constantly amazed at the truly incredible music I somehow manage to keep on unearthing after around thirty years of compulsive exploring. I've never subscribed to the accepted wisdom that a person should just stop listening to new releases when they reach a certain age, nor do I feel the need to retreat into a cocoon of safe listening habits built upon the bands I love the most. No, for me music has always been about originality, experimentalism, envelope pushing, expansion and progression. I love those bands who are constantly striving to make new sounds, whether using the latest recording techniques, obscure reference points or just simply trying something different for the sheer hell of it!

Nastro are an Italian duo comprising Manuel Cascone and Francesco Petricca. According to their press release, the title 300 mq (300 squared meters) alludes to the size of their recording space in Rome which they were contractually obligated to tear down "with their bare hands" some twelve months after starting work on the album.

As Nastro is an Italian word meaning ribbon or tape, its only fitting that this album sounds like some kind of audio tape collage, a head-spinning mesh of disparate sonic sources - fractured loops, slices of various musics, found sound splinters and an array of electro-acoustic experiments.

The album contains two untitled tracks, both clocking in at around sixteen minutes but it would be unnecessary to take each piece as a separate entity. Indeed, this is a release which demands a more holistic listening philosophy.

The approach here is simple, a complete de-structuring of the accepted norms of musical composition. Sounds ricochet and collide with each other whilst fractured loops hang from a decaying framework of rhythmic tics and electronic pulses. The percussive elements are particularly strong throughout the set, many of which sound like samples lifted from the B sides of lost post-Punk 7" singles or antique library music albums.

Upside Down Recordings has delivered something of a small scale masterpiece here, an album that should be heard a lot more widely than it probably ever will be and championed for it's diversity and sheer experimentalism.

Strictly limited physical copies of the album are available from the label and feature clever, die-cut packaging and tessellating artwork insert plus a download code. A digital download version is also available directly from their Bandcamp page.

Recommended listening for adventurous sonic explorers.

Stream Side A of the album on Soundcloud;

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