Maurizio Bianchi: Elisionem

Maurizio Bianchi is an Italian noise musician who is perhaps best known for his early association with Whitehouse and their Come Org label. In 1981, Bianchi gave copies of his early noise recordings to Whitehouse’s William Bennett, who re-edited them without Bianchi’s approval and released two albums’ worth of material under the name Leibstandarte SS MB. Bianchi himself does not count these albums as part of his oeuvre, even though they are undoubtedly responsible in part for such public profile as he currently has.

He released at least ten further albums in the early 80s, before getting religion and retiring from music. Reactivating his career in 1998, he has been making up for lost time with an avalanche of recordings on a bewildering variety of labels, including this one on Klanggalerie, the leading Austrian label for avant-garde electronic and noise music.

The album’s presentation has a distinctly scientific bearing; track titles include “Proteic Suppression”, “Glutenous Dispositive” and “Histological Amalgam”, while the sleeve notes – possibly with tongue in cheek – attempt to elucidate the album’s title with a screed that begins “The ‘elisionem’, in the avant-gardist branch, is a sound absorbent course used to amalgamate various sonorous elements into one.” Feeling none the wiser, one proceeds to listen to the record.

Wholly electronic in origin, the music on this collection of drone- and loop-based pieces is dramatic and forbidding. The hypnotic, serpentine repetitions of “Proteic Suppression” are reminiscent of Zoviet France, while “Syllabic Microbes” is quieter and more mysterious, until a series of harsh metallic stabs upsets the track’s equilibrium. At 24 minutes, “Elliptic Iontophoresis” is the longest and most effective piece on the album. Microscopically detailed in texture, its soundworld begins with high and low end drones that give way to grating clashes, stricken movements and a gradual ratcheting up of tension. Finally, the drama retreats into a sense of relative calm, with swirling astral patterns and periodic bursts of activity. Whatever its scientific basis, this is a very fine album of dark ambient atmospherics.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 16, 2008)

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