Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Novanta - Crescendo

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

With a lone acoustic guitar sat neatly on a chair, all indications point to this being an album filled with singer-songwriter type, simple, earnest and heartfelt songs. The reality couldn't be further from the truth (well, technically it could, but you know what we mean). Novanta is the alias of Italian musician Manfredi Lamartina and his songs are experimental, innovative, challenging, forward-thinking and barely contain any acoustic guitar, in fact they may contain none whatsoever. He uses the terms post-rock, electro and shoegaze, and that just about hits the spot. That artwork it totally at odds with the album, so what its purpose serves we can only guess at.

Glitchy electronic beats are what start the album on 'Le Persone Perbene Soccombono', one of the more ambient pieces that's led by a simple piano line passing over the muffled digital sounds. It's the calm before the storm in some respects, although the storm is more of a reasonably strong gale. 'Get Your Fire (feat. Herself)' could be considered the album's first proper song, and it rides in on sharp pangs of electric guitar and distorted vocals, again resting on a bed of electronic glitches. It's here where you first see the shoegaze aspect to his sound, the difference being that, unlike many, Novanta is looking to the future as much as borrowing from the past. More electronics are brought in for the innovative and fuzzy 'My Love, A Fast Emotion', a song it's a challenge to find a good comparison to.

After that rush, it's a return to dreamier sounds and chiming guitars for the slowly rumbling 'A Door', maybe one for the shoegaze/dreampop traditionalists, and the more ambient 'When You Doubt Yourself' also brings back some familiarity, yet still uses progression as the ringing guitars are met with the hum of electronic experimenting as the song builds. Reverting back to his vision for futuristic shoegaze, we're then given the excellent 'Ogni Strada Davanti' which is crisp and frenetic yet also warm and somehow familiar, it's also a good summary of Novanta's concept for this album. There are rare vocals on the droning 'Friburgo (feat. Nazarin)' which also conforms to these electro-gaze ideals, but maybe not quite as well as some of the othe tracks. Another atmospheric piece, 'Abbi Cura Di Me' follows, and it's here that we get the first real taste of post-rock. The first half of the song is largely uneventful, but the second half begins to head skyward, before closing out with the short, peaceful 'Pierpaolo Faggiano'. So 'Crescendo' may have a misleading cover, but the music included here is innovative and more often than not, exceptionally good.

Novanta's website

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