Shanghai, C'est Beau

by Bernardino Femminielli

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Released on Clan Destine Records

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released 01 March 2013

As well as a couple of very interesting looking tapes, reliable Glasgow art freaks Clan Destine have another of their limited LPs for us this week, this time from live Dirty Beach Bernardino Femminielli, who has previously released a solo LP on Desire. It’s a curious mixture of industrial and cosmic textures, described in the press release as “mixing 20 Jazz Funk Greats-era Throbbing Gristle with the darker side of Italo disco and early synth pop/punk, Bernardino treats us to an epic electro/psychedelic journey”, which is pretty fair. It’s a similar combination to Nickolas Mohanna’s interesting tinkerings on the LP of his we got in last week. The combination of such disparate styles and moods makes for an album which while slow-drifting has an engaging sense of narrative to it, giving it a slightly jarring fever-dream feel which is immersive if sometimes awkward.

It starts out innocently enough with synth drones cutting through a cosmic techno throb to form a lengthy and hypnotic piece of coldly mechanised neo-psychedelic dance meditation ‘Auto-Stoppeuses (Premiere Partie)’ which forms the bulk of the first side, disintegrating halfway through into weird stuttering rhythmic loops which slowly melt into Food Pyramid-meets-Decimus-ish new age synth droning which swells and throbs, shifting subtly between ominous dread and celestial light. ‘La Pacte’ then takes a total U-turn with some slightly funky minimal beats and a simple bass loop alongside French whisperings and a slowly mounting melodic synth background churgle which hangs suspended in the air as the beat drops out for a few bars before dropping back in for some more metronomic whispery French techno stylings.

The second side opens with some swirling, swooshing analogue dreadscapes before a woozy techno beat and blissed out synth arpeggios accompany ghostly female moans and a return of the breathily whispering Frenchman, hinting at the haunted, loopy pop of label-mate Ela Orleans but on more of a late night disco noir tip, before diving back into some cosmic drone meditations before a final burst of hard astral techno to finish. This is an engaging LP, alternately uplifting and unsettling. Norman Records

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Bernardino Femminielli Montréal, Québec

Bernardino Femminielli is a Montreal/Berlin-based artist whose work and character reflect provocation, mysticism, danger, sexuality, politics and spirituality. From brutal italo-disco to heavy cosmic drone and mutant industrial, his sonic ventures are not for the faint of heart. ... more

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