Boomkat Product Review:
Unstoppable percussionist Valentina Magaletti pairs with dub scientist Zongamin on 'Suono Assente' for an unruly run of ragged dream-pop-post-punk steppers, featuring appearances from Venus Ex Machina, Coby Sey and Cathy Lucas. RIYL 4AD, Les Disques du Crépuscule, Stroom.
Remember Zongamin? As a solo artist, Susumu Mukai appeared back in the early 2000s and dropped a slew of influential 12"s on labels like Kitsuné and Ed Banger, rounding it out with a self-titled album on XL. He didn't disappear over the last few years, he just got different work, playing bass on tracks from Floating Points, Alexis Taylor, Off World, Vanishing Twin and others - he even made an appearance on this year's Holy Tongue record, next to Al Wooton and Valentina Magaletti. Mukai shares an East London studio with the Italian drummer, so it's hardly surprising that their experimentation resulted in more material, and 'Suono Assente' is our first taste, a shadowy set of dub-inspired vignettes that play to both artist's strengths.
After the initial grubby throwdown of 'Suono Assente' and 'Candles', two tight expressions of post-punk and hazy library/soundtrack sounds respectively, the album shifts gear on 'Habadash'. Featuring Vanshing Twin's Lucas on vocals, the track drives Mukai and Magaletti's dusty cinematics into a different locale, reminding us of Antena or even Slowdive. Coby Sey lends his characteristic rasp to 'Bites', whisper-talking over the duo's beatbox loops and acidic violin scrapes, while Venus Ex Machina corrodes the metallic 'Plants No Virtues' into a plughole swirl of white noise and robotic vocals, leaving Mukai's bass to throb in the distance. Our favorite moment is 'Caffe Giallo', a horrorstruck psych-rock groover that's somewhere between Religious Knives (remember them?) and Ennio Morricone, all druggy Hammond whistles, deadpan vocals and low-slung bass. Recommended.