The main sonic outfit of Raffaele Pezzella, Sonologyst, returns with Dust Of Human Race, released via one of this guy’s labels, Eighth Tower Records (part of the Unexplained Sounds Group family). I won’t go too deep into biographical or discographical issues this time; just keep in mind that this devoted artist from Italy permanently impresses with his releases. With Dust Of Human Race, that path simply goes on, further, leading towards higher regions of unknown worlds, untrodden and unexplored before.
Besides the (logical?) digital edition, there is a physical one, i.e. a four-panel digipack compact-disc, attractively and impressively designed by Black Space Industry. The result consists of six individual yet organically related pieces, having a total running time of about forty-two minutes and something. Everything was written, performed, produced and mastered by Raffaele himself, even though he had been helped out by some guest musicians. I’ll come back to this immediately.
So, is this an album we could have expected? Well, yes and no, actually. With ‘yes’, I refer to the sonic approach, which still is an uncomfortable yet intriguing, somewhat experimental and spatial mixture of elements from (Death) Industrial, (Dark) Ambient, Musique Concrète, Space Drone, Electroacoustic and Field Recordings, injected with samples and found sounds from different sources (machinery versus church bells, tribal chanting and spoken voices, you know…). Yet ‘no’ too, i.e. this is not ‘just a successor of’. Actually, with Dust Of Human Race, Sonologyst delve even deeper into the darkest corridors and corners of the human psyche, meeting Death in its most outstanding, terrifying, confronting, yet also realistically disturbing forms.
It all starts with the title track, a piece that slowly builds up, growing bigger, louder, more menacing and harsh, unremarkable confronting and unstoppable, climbing up towards a huge wall of eldritch noise. Horrific synth sequences, ultra-heavy droning, spacy sounds and apocalyptic electronics are canalized into an oppressive entity, sort of defining a mood of both anxiety and confusion. Within the chaotic texture, one can easily find well-balanced patterns and deep-thought structures; actually it is unique how easy and organic it seems, to find that burdensome equilibrium in between passionate havoc and a profound complexity.
With Teatro Grottesco (with its length of four minutes, being the shortest piece on this album), Sonologyst blindfoldedly jump into the bottomless abyss, at first for adding that down-earthed organ, which could have been part of the soundtrack for some Italian Horror movie from last century (performed, by the way, by long-time friend and colleague Michael Bonaventure), as well as through the industrialized fragments, harsh machinery, artificial technology and creepy drones. That relaxing baby-tune at the end stands in stark contrast to the discomfortable aural disturbance.
Avidyā has something occult, yet rather of the mysterious kind, like being inspired by death rites from ancient tribes. Reverbing strings (purely hypnotizing), radio manipulation, cosmic elements, funereal excerpts and primal / primitive sounds get mingled into a weird experience, teasing and twisting the listener’s brain. There is a scarifying tension, increasing, then again fading away, yet permanently making you gasp for (fresh) air (not that simple why using mouth masks the whole of the time). A not-to-deny detail is that it lacks of some exaggerated theatrical level of drama, yet rather focuses on in-depth introspection and man’s confrontation with nature, life and death.
That’s exactly what Maléfice tries to tell us too: emotions of negativity and grief covering reality with thoroughgoing audible experimentation rather than semi-dramatic suspense or bogus constructions. Whale-like ‘chants’, down-tuned basses, eerie voices (by some Ellen Southern), disturbing metallic percussion, astral tunes, untraceable sampling, and overwhelming, thunderous sound constructions from different angles result in a mighty yet quite intricate epos that defines a bizarre dimension of after-life.
The piece The Prayer is a mostly eclectic one: heavy-droning electronica and low-tuned pulsating basses penetrated with sounds of raindrops and other watery fragments, spoken words (some fragments from a space experience, others in Russian?), both dissonant and static noise collages, glitchy fragments, and different unusual samples from uncountable origins. It opens the gate where one dares to enter, or not, a passage never to get undone. …a nice introduction for this album’s grande finale…
With an album like Dust Of Human Race, it is not that correct to talk about individual ‘songs’, for it must be seen as one huge story, divided into different chapters. Besides, I do not always like to talk about ‘my favourite track’ on an album. But in this case, I think the last title, Chiangimuerti, might be the top-notch closed of a mostly interesting recording. It’s the lengthiest chapter on this album, clocking almost fourteen minutes; many minutes that beg for perseverance, persuasion and endurance. Here too, the start in minimal and compendious, but it soon evolves towards wider levels of sonic fascination. A monotone yet truly asphyxiating drone-line gets interspersed by church bells, followed by synthesizer manipulation, processed double bass (elaborated by some Alvaro Rosso) and captivating chants. The latter, that choir-like thing, seems to be some kind of mourning chant, quite ritual and tribal in nature, and unbelievably hypnotic (especially in combination with the permanently growing pulsing keyboard lines). The track ‘surmounts’, i.e. it grows and evolves, slowly, step by step, concretising an eerie, haunting atmosphere, some pitch-black narration as tribute to the next stage in mankind’s existence on our planet. The last third of this composition gets creepier, when heavily droning melodies and almost hysterical vocal fragments join the game.
Raffaele is a sound-wizard, both as artist / musician and as promotor / label owner of the scene. With Sonologyst, he always surprises and captivates, and with this album, everything climbs up to the highest proportions of experimental Aural Art. Amateurs of the genre will not be disappointed (again)!