On THE DREAM SYMPOSIUM’S GREEN ELECTRIC MUSE (Youth Sounds, 2020)
From a drone and cymbal crash, summoning; before electronica catches us, and the Dream Symposium in announcing calls to mind the fresh change of song to sound stars and other worlds part imagined; a celestial band’s astral tuning which conjures up Fripp and Eno, Cluster, the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. But these are only echoes that form as the ritual is re-witnessed, as Youth’s struck bass takes us further along a starred and sparked path that sets this two song album into play; those selfsame notes speak of chambers that the spiralling strings strike and favour and which colour of course night and day. This new project is one of ambient experimentation. But rather than remain in one genre it takes psychedelia into trance, as we hear the mystic and murky within, as if it were one of Kenneth Anger’s lost soundtracks, with the music sourced and mixed within it providing a texture to both contain and calm sin.
With Youth on bass and keys and Italian guitarist Emilio Sorridente, the music made creates landscape soothed by strange and near mythic waves, which seem to stem from the source that fuels all sound glories; the need to reach fresh sensation that frees the captured mind from its cage.
The piece howls and roars, a beast deliberately freed from its burden, and now busily uncoiling itself as we listen, called out and bidden by these two established men’s hands. But then there are joined by a further trio of sound tamers, shapers and maestros; The Gulp’s lead guitarist, Francesco Buffone, along with another six string weaver, Michelangelo Nasso, and then Enzo De Masi on drums, an anglo Italian mix which turns this digital release into a positive cauldron, from which one can hear the steam rising as the malleable surface simmers and boils and reforms through reverb.
Side A’s Aquatonic paints the air as well as soundtracking a changing image of water. We are in a lava lamp whose volcano is celebrated by this clang and choir of strings. Who show that guitars wrung for sound become positive wands that transform us, stirring spells across darkness for the listening ear to contain. This is music you swim through and sink into perhaps and which reshapes the shore as you listen. There is a connection of course to the Sixties and early Seventies and the initially scented airs of Hawkwind. But this form of Spacerock has aged and become all too easily sectioned. Here, is a new variation presented: an ‘Innerspacerock’ that thrills thought beyond language while conjuring landscapes and still hidden realms of the mind.
The music undulates, swoops and bows and the ghosts appear, to claim shadow. They dance on night beaches as a gathering wind achieves form. There is a frenzy, then thrash as strummed guitar figures enter and at least twenty two strings give voice to an Atlantis in sound; a song storm. In such stylings, sequenced pulse, and a cascade of taped voices; collusions along the path to resistance as this twenty minute call for ascension contains worlds, ways and reasons we had not until now thought of as ours. The Green Electric Muse contains all. It is the sound of a spacecraft taking off as a vocal sample describes for us. It is Popul Vuh’s ecstasy reconfigured, or a Tangerine Dream of green that has suddenly turned to blood orange. A Force Majeure as persuasive as the joint that unrolls you, staining all hope and senses and sealing in smoke what souls feel.
Side B’s Intercity arrives with a fugue of car horns and traffic. Swirled guitar, streamed and shaken conjures the wildness within unsoiled streets. Here, the mastering of The Orb’s Michael Rendall is perceived as well as the mix of Natalia Rodrigues Milanezi, along with Youth’s production as unsung song creates world. It is as if each element of the city combined to make an electric tone poem, as the guitars cry through sound gutters at the weight of each place we’ve defined. The Saucerful of Secrets Floyd spilled has stained the blues we hear echoed as the start of something more stately gathers at around 5 minutes 45. As the piece continues, the true Intercity and ‘Innercity’ takes shape, regaining strength, showing weakness and rising from the mists of spent sewers to form melancholy and possible requiem across time. The Innerspace rock I describe is one that has set sad fates into rolling and drawn resolve from the damage that is witnessed and worn at each turn. If anything, this piece is more profound than Side A, which serves as herald perhaps for the message in sound that this manifesto of people as place now defines.
Although begun as jams, the musician’s experiences distills sugar to make a form of calm caterwauling in which the intercity sings, stains and scales, so that all of that kept within, be it dream or description of outward and internal landscape can be heard in this music, whose every note dares tomorrow to learn from the forces and from the lessons of the past. Despair fails.
The Green Electric Muse has been called and it is a gem, as well as a bright invocation. Recorded at the Artetica Studios in Rizziconi in June 2019, it grants a new place and language to the silence of the coming day we’re still shaping. As the city calls, seeking answers, the sky seems to widen and the light within flesh and bristle. The streets bleed with music and the powers of night achieve theme.
With stirring echoes of Fripp, Floyd, Cluster and the ‘Dead,’ Green Electric Muse is gem of ambient experimentation, moving from pyschedelia to soundscape and trance. It conjures and revives a new form of innerspace rock, soundtracking the private forces within people, alongside lost city requiems. Two twenty minute pieces combine European progressive and ambient traditions into a searing new mix of invention. With Youth on bass and keys, Italian guitar player Emilio Sorridente, The Gulp’s lead guitarist, Francesco Buffone, alongside Michelangelo Masso, and Enzo De Masi, this musical mix becomes a positive cauldron of change and invocation.
The music chaemelons as ghosts reclaim shadow. Aquatonic captures the sound of a spacecraft taking off. It is a Tangerine Dream of green that has suddenly turned to blood orange. A Force Majeure as persuasive as the joint that unrolls you, as Intercity arrives with a fugue of traffic to make an electric tone poem, as guitars cry through sound gutters, forming an ambient manifesto of people as place. Started as jams, the musician’s experiences distills sugar to make a gem of bright invocation. Produced by Youth, this vital new release shows how haunted streets bleed with music and help to heal night.
David Erdos July 2020
Photos: Caterina Lucia