A statement of raw forms and absoluteness: Eugenio Maggi will not go astray.
If there is one thing I can't stand, it is people claiming that electronic music used to be so much more experimental, provocative and downright shocking in the past. For one thing, these qualities have absolutely nothing to do with the artistic merrits of a composition. And secondly, an album like "Vor Feuerschlünden" proves that there are still works out there which are so different, so radical and uncompromising that even the so-called experts and those who claim to have heard it all will be confused as to whether this is "good" or "bad" and whether they like it or not.
Which comes slightly unexpected, as Eugenio Maggi of Cría Cuervos has been known as a man with his own ideas, but of a more subtle composure. "Leitfossilien" dangled from the edge of insanity in the valley of silence and in his reviews for the influential Italian WebZine Chain DLK, he has always proved himself to be a connoisseur of tender musical plants.
What to make of "Vor Feuerschlünden", then: a screaming insult to beauty. A statement of raw forms and absoluteness. A polarising effort. Two tracks, the shortest already sucking up twenty minutes. After you've fought your way through, you're exhausted.
The title tune feels like a freight train running through a slowly building tunnel of white noise. Apart from the gradual increase in volume, Maggi eschews varying his theme – this wall of sound is all there is and he will not go astray.
On "Blutgebell" ("Blood Barking"), he opens with goose gabbles, before rolling up the cavernous drones. Resonating bell reverberations flood a lost highway like waves of tar and lava, while short cymbal strokes and high-frequency filter modulations are smeared on top.
Going from loud to quiet, from single notes to cacaphonous symphonics and from the rough to the refined, Maggi balances these themes without leaving the steady root mood of estrangement and alienation. Here, too, penetration is the keyword, as some threads are left to linger for minutes without modulation or mercy.
The result is similar to some of the more drastic forms of experimenal film: you are scared by what you're seeing, but you can't turn away your eyes either. "Vor Feuerschlünden" keeps staring at the same spot until the image has been burnt to the retina.
That may not be a pleasant sensation, but it will certainly not leave anyone cold – the claim by label founder Andrea Marutti that he is still blown away by this music one year after he first heard it is no label babble but the simple truth.
Oh, and if you're wondering whether I personally like it or not: I really couldn't say.