Monday, 8 July 2013

Silencio Stampa - Kalejdoskop

Album review by

Without the help of any translation websites, we can be fairly confident that 'Kalejdoskop' translates as 'Kaleidoscope', it would be too much of a coincidence in spelling otherwise, not to mention the artwork. Silencio Stampa is the alias of Swedish musician Fredrik Jonasson, a man who is clearly taken by retro-futuristic sounds and probably owns a few records by Silver Apples, Bian Eno and much of the '70s Berlin set. He began Silencio Stampa as a side-project from other bands he was working with, but it's now become a fully-fledged project in its own right, and with an album and an EP already in the can, one that is starting to build a fanbase. This second album is perhaps the most complete yet and is the first to contain any vocals (but only on two songs). It works well as an instrumental work, so the lack of a voice doesn't harm things one bit.

It's a very analog sounding record, but whether this was achieved using vintage synths and so on, or whether this was modern digital software replicating this sound (a technique that's rapidly on the increase) you'd have to ask him, not that it really matters. You can hear the influence of Spectrum mixed into the vintage sounds of 'Introduktionen', a song that begins as a softly buzzing ambient track before adding more melody and blooming into a colourful synth piece. It's the perfect song to kick things off, as it shows two important aspects of the album: the ambient electronic vistas and also the melodic, tuneful side. That said, the ambient songs are varied. 'Lannanmaa' feels lost and a little troubled; the very old-fashioned 'Kalejdoskopet' feels as though you're drifting silently through space and the second half of 'Cantarella' is much the same; with its intermittent growls and drama, 'Soma' feels like a monster awakening and the sleepy 'Bilateral' creates a pleasant soporific effect, along with 'Lux Pulchra'.

The more song-based tracks aren't vastly different, and this is a good move as it would make the album sound fractured. There may be a slight variation in style but the sounds are the same. Jenny Gabrielsson Mare adds some sultry vocals to 'Le Poney Rouge' which builds to a piercing and uplifting climax; 'Glossolali (Duo)' also builds from the atmospheric to something more substantial; it's easy to see why 'The Hours (the other track to feature vocals, this time from Compute) was chosen as a single. It's gentle but accessible and easy to like. Of the instrumental songs, it's perhaps 'Bristol' that would provide the best single material, introducing a guitar into the mix. It's then left to the peaceful 'Adieu (Folsom)' to carefully put the album to bed. 'Kalejdoskop' is a journey back in time and it's also a journey through the clouds, and one that you won't mind taking again and again.

Silencio Stampa's website

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