Divus is the combined work of Luciano Lamanna (of LSWHR), providing the electronics and techno elements, and Luca T. Mai (of ZU) providing the saxophone across 7 tracks, given ID’s like “C2” and “D3” rather than names.
More often than not the saxophone sits relatively centre-stage, generally given free reign and treated with respect, gently effected and distorted but not heavily deconstructed. The expressiveness and melancholy can shine through in pieces like “C4”. At times it certainly feels like the sax came first and has been sampled rather than cross-composed, particularly on “D1” or on the opener “C1” which, despite being an entirely different genre, somehow brings up strong memories of Deadly Avenger’s “We Took Pelham”.
Around the sax are placed a range of electronica elements, textured drones and pads, all of which is generally on the harsher and more sandpaper-like side, pulling the traditionally super-smooth sound of a sax deliberately away from its velvet natural environment. This ranges from some more familiar-sounding techno-industrial noises, such as those in “D2”, to more experimental, atmosphere-laden and ambient works like the album’s only really expansive piece “D3”.
There are exceptions. “C3” is much more aggressive, twisting the acoustic sounds into a hard noise wall that sits very curiously over an industrial kick drum that sounds techno yet beats out a form of tango. It’s very inventive and feels interesting as a form of anti-dance music aligned to anti-pop. On the whole the pieces are too slow to qualify as dance music in the conventional sense.
It’s an unexpected blend that offers up more variety than you might imagine in a relatively small (27 minute) package, and a well above average example of how to bring two musical backgrounds together and mix it up into something original.