If you like progrock, there's no way on Earth you can pass by JoyCut's PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround. The group is Italy's premiere dark wave ensemble, and they bring together the best aspects of Kraftwerk, John Foxx circa Metamatic, Tangerine Dream, krautische electronique, techno, Neu, traces of Krister Linder (Metropia), and that kinda thing. The CD's almost entirely instrumental, atmospheric as hell, sinister but crossed with an existentially puzzling sense of satisfaction, even an abstracted happy delirium, cosmic and irresistible, often almost dancey…if you're a peripatetic robot. The promo lit tells me JoyCut's a quartet but the Italian Wiki says they're a trio (Pasquale Pezzillo, Gael Califano, and Giannicola Maccarinelli) playing keyboards, guitar, percussion, voice (on one cut as straight-out singing, on another as a vocodery presence utilized like an instrument), and other whatnots.
Regardless, the band creates ringing environments in waves of rolling sound, sometimes metronomic, other times rising and falling like inky waters in subterranean pools, then hurtling like a juggernaut or bullet train towards the skies. My favorite track is Dark Star, sounding like something Peter Baumann might've written after his masterful Transharmonic Nights, following a mug of Starbuck's best triple espresso chased with sopors and then a long bout of watching futuristic dystopia movies. The mournful 1-D, the track with Pezzilo singing, is the most pronouncedly cinematic, though much of Pieces of Us would readily accompany flicks by Luc Besson, Guillermo Toro, and likeminded fantastes.
This is music that one can never get enough of. I was tremendously elated when Beak arrived on the scene, though that ensemble is more in the old Cluster and pre-Autobahn Kraftwerk mode. JoyCut hales from the same musical hinterlands but with a vastly more effulgent canvas, kind of a self-contained art museum whereas Beak is decidedly more austere, a whacked-out van der Rohe as opposed to JoyCut's Gaudi by way of Ernst. Gary Numan would have been a lot more interesting had he kept with his early inclinations and cleaved more adhesively to what's presented here. OMD did and put out two epochal albums, then went pop-prog on us. Therefore, sacrifice to the eldritch gods that these paisans make their mark touring North America in the coming year but also that they don't get tempted by the Whores of Babylon (European and American capitalism) and start cranking out chart confections. Icehouse and Psychedelic Furs, and alas even OMD and Foxx (and, to an extent, Japan), were more than enough when it came to that sort of thing.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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