Saturday, May 30, 2020
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Artist: Dino Spiluttini (@)
Title: To Be A Beast
Format: LP
Label: Cut Surface (@)
Thumbs up for these to-the-point presentations of hazy, damaged synth recordings. Heavy compression, tape hiss, and airy pads that remind me of cues from Drive or a barely-functioning This Mortal Coil cassette. The feature I appreciate the most is the tasteful restraint shown in the brief run-times. Many artists tackling this sort of material usually find it necessary to build on an idea for an irritatingly long time, only to repeat the core concept into obsolescence, until I'm relieved to hear it end. Spiluttini knows that attention-spans have been thoroughly dismantled in our culture, and takes the listener promptly in and out of each environment. Even with noticeable gaps between these tracks, there remains a sense of smooth transition that tempers the brevity, with an admirable sense of flow and continuity. Not interested in lulling the listener into a nap or disinterest, though, Spiluttini offers startling bits on the second side, trading in the dreamy flow for moments of harsh noise; white washes, screeching highs, and crunchy disintegration, even deciding to end the release with a squeal instead of a breath. Over-compression and tape damaged loops like these have been thoroughly explored on releases from labels like Tri Angle, but when it's handled this well, it can feel like new ground again.. These are expertly delivered sonic landscapes by an artist who has obviously done his homework in the genre while giving important consideration to our modern, overexposed ears. The press sheets included with this release dared to namedrop Basinski as a comparison, but Spiluttini does not disappoint. I would only note that I have, on occasion, found Basinski to be a bit long-winded for my tastes, whereas "To Be A Beast" was an effortless, rewarding experience. I look forward to exploring more of Spiluttini's discography.