Boomkat Product Review:
Visionary Milanese guitarist Alessandra Novaga pays tribute to Derek Jarman in an ideal showcase for her expansive tonal palette and descriptively lucid-dreamlike style, delivered by the ever trustworthy Die Schachtel.
Novaga is counted among the leading figures of Italy’s thriving new experimental music scene, and known as a skilled improviser, as well as for collaborations and performances of work by likes of Mark Fell collaborator, Sandro Mussida, who wrote a work for her ‘Movement Lunari’ on Die Schachtel’s Blume series. Thematically and stylistically ‘I Should Have Been a Gardener Die Schachtel’ follows from Novaga’s 2017 dedication to Rainer Werner Fassbinder with a focus on boundary-pushing auteur filmmaker Derek Jarman, drawing from his diaries, interviews, films, and personal politics to sketch out a hauntingly beautiful portrait of the avant-garde legend’s life, work, and death, perfectly accompanied and sealed by a classic photo of Jarman in his famous garden on the album cover.
Colouring in space, to our ears, between the languorous strokes of Loren Connors and The Durutti Column, but with a gossamer fine watermark of distinction, Novaga’s spatial sensitivities come into their own as the album unfolds at a seductively relaxed and contemplative pace. She makes achingly simple but poignant use of Dungeness shingle underfoot for the 11 minute ponder of ‘April 21’, while ‘The Wound Dresser’ cuts to the bone with rawer electric touch, and ‘Poppies In The Morning’ shimmers with a rare, tremulous beauty, all seemingly setting up for her imaginary duet with Jarman in ‘I Should Have Been a Gardener’, where she subtly sketches out lines as wide and surreally time-lapsed as the Kent coast line.