> MAURIZIO BIANCHI MEETS ROADSIDE PICNIC Album Review by Mark Barton (The Sunday Experience)
Strictly limited to just 250 stickered copies – ours being #154 – via the Singapore based imprint 4iB Records, the latest release bearing the ominous aural autograph of Justin Wiggan finds his explorative sound art alter ego Roadside Picnic paired up with the Italian godfather of industrial and out there technological sound advancement Maurizio Bianchi for what is, even by Roadside Picnic and Dreams of Tall Buildings standards, a colossal sonic immersion into sounds un-chartered inner space.
Comprised of two lengthy and starkly contrasting suites this face off charters the disquieting voids of dark ambience. For those with meeker palettes the atmospherically chilled 24 minute ’dictatorship of dead labour’ might prove the preferred listening option. Graced with a disquieting chill that doefully permeates throughout. What first appears to sound like the equivalent of the lost sea scrolls transcribed into binary signatures and locked in a time capsule hurled forth through the endless cosmic seas from a long since dead star quadrant situated far beyond the reaches of mans eye soon translates to something akin to walking through some sand storm blizzard only to happen upon a calmed place wherein before you the hallowed ruins of a once mighty civilisation now reduced to deathly decay. Haunting and uneasy in terms of listening appreciation it evokes images of spirits trapped and damned, cursed forevermore to relive their worst days until salvation shows mercy. Here a strangely tranquil spiritual calm weaves through the grooves with the appearance through the sun bleached haze of whispering vestiges of lost archaic Tibetan ceremonial folk tongues buried deep in wells of hiss, and though we are prone mention noise manipulations, frequency adjustments and sonic skree clouds, its not your occasionally expected sonic brutality that emerges here, instead something far more disconcerting that connects with your primal instincts more so an ingrained ancestral flashback to our past or indeed as the case might be a future vision of ourselves in a future to come, whatever the case there’s no denying the haunting dread impression it leaves in its wake. Of course should sonic terrorism be your bag and chosen listening poison then ’the clearing’ might well prove a testing examination of your tolerances.
At 40 minutes in length ‘the clearing’ appears to be sub divided into several distinct movements – from the of it falsely lures you deep into its lair by way of its opening greeting of chilling atmospherics, leviathan like textures and bleak ambient curvatures and from therein everything is sombrely serene until that is without warning tripping the 4 minute your suddenly buried deep an under siege by a white hot caustic cauldron of harsh noise whose only remit one assumes is to fry the contents of your headspace whilst clearly melting your ears as it seeks to enter the power electronics sanctum of Merzbow. Afforded no hiding place the intensity is pitched at levels where animals cry and speakers literally splinter, both crude and unforgiving its noise at its purest undiluted form. Once satisfied that your listening tolerances have been bleached into submission everything abruptly halts and at the 13 minute the ambient folds which greeted us upon our entrance re-forge though this time graced in reality fracturing psychotropic dream states before again terra-forming at the 24 minute point to emerge into something truly tranquil and meditative and seductively framed in all manner of gaseous shimmers and cosmic tides whose elegantly stilled neo classical appreciation admirers of both old school Tangerine Dream and new school Hibernate recording subscribers might find a common head nodding ground.