[reviews] afe111lcd
ascanio borga: xenomorphic

sonomu []
webzine, u.k., june 2009

The title translates as "of strange form", unsettling yet vital and dynamic and freighted with possibility, to paraphrase the artist. Most of the tracks were produced over long periods of time, sometimes years, and the patient craftsmanship shows.

Ascanio Borga produced all sounds heard on the album, especially showcasing heavily treated guitar, though he did borrow a little bit from maverick noisenik Maurizio Bianchi for the opening track.

A distinctly tribal setting is established on that track, pervaded with a certain sense of imbalance. Sound flies at the listener in jagged shards out of a dark cloud of drone, serrated and dissonant, a guitar under torture. The air is filled with grey dread, sweeping up and spinning everything in its path.

"Equilibrium" is restored with a sense of calm returning to the skies above. As this second piece draws to a close, a shower of remnants, evoked by the twinkling of a windchime, serves as a subtle reminder of the storm.

"Apnea (The Hollow Mind)" is the last and longest of the three main suites into which "Xenomorphic" is arranged. Suddenly the sound field becomes populated as voices, traffic, hubbub can be heard. It is as if a reemergence is taking place: people are coming out of hiding, everything is now fresh and clean, the music conveys a sense of wonder and colour. The burst of electric guitar soloing sounds like joy and rebirth. It is certainly the most satisfying piece on the album. In showing great restraint it makes the largest impact.

The blistering guitar of "Raw Ground" serves as a coda, tearing up fresh earth in which to plant new ideas. In all, it repeats a theme of "Bad Ground" (a previous Borga album reviewed elsewhere in Sonomu), but with a more sanguine view of the future.

[Stephen Fruitman]