|the milk factory 
webzine, u.k., november 2010
It could be a decaying sound source which opens "Detrimental Dialogue", and in a way, it is, except that instead of progressing, this is a regressive process which takes place during the first four minutes of this album's opening track, as pieces of sonic dust progressively gather in increasingly more coherent electronic clusters. This is only the beginning of a recurring process during which compositions slowly break down into almost insubstantial fragments and regenerate into entirely new structures. All the way through "Detrimental Dialogue", Andrea Marutti and Fausto Balbo take electronic synthesis from extremely granular to concrete universal level and back.
Hailing from Milan, where he runs the Afe imprint, Andrea Marutti has released music since the mid-nineties under a variety of aliases, including Amon, Lips Vago or Spiral, and is a member of various formations, including Hall Of Mirrors, Maribor or Sil Muir. Fausto Balbo spent part of his formative years playing guitar in various rock bands before developing a taste for more unconventional forms of music, resulting in experimentation with electronics and improvisation. He has until now released just two solo albums, with his as-yet untitled third one due out next year on Afe.
The two met five years ago in Vigevano, northern Italy, and rapidly decided to collaborate on a project, focusing on exploring various forms of electronic analogue and digital synthesis. "Detrimental Dialogue" is the fruit of this common work. The album is split into four tracks of varying length, the longest, "Winter", lasting almost twenty minutes, the shortest, "Set-Back", clocking at just above the six minute mark. Yet, the meticulous process of sonic dissection and reconnection remains very constant throughout. While each track works independently of the others, there is a clear narrative flow which runs like a thread from the opening moment of "Winter" to the distorted closing seconds of "Troubled Elephant". While "Winter" progresses through a number of phases, some extremely granular, others wonderfully lush and melodic, "Indulge Me", which follows, echoes the early electronic experiments of Tangerine Dream, especially in the first half of the piece, which sees a series of dreamy synthetic chords floating just above bubbling electronics, but as these become progressively more prominent, the astral character of the track is replaced by much more fragmented and earthy elements before taking a decidedly glacial tone in the last section of the piece.
Despite its shorter structure, "Set-Back" is equally as complex and abstract, as the pair go through a series of refined electronic sound forms, layering abrasive textures, bleepy components and sweeping soundscapes. "Troubled Elephant" by contrast is a somewhat peaceful and ethereal piece, at least in its first half, where soft tones scintillates, barely disturbed by the constant criss-crossing of statics and interferences. Things become much more abrasive and harsh in the second half though as the pair relentlessly distort and distress their gentle soundscapes until they become totally unrecognisable.
"Detrimental Dialogue" is a rather fine exercise in electronic synthesis processing, which, while referencing in part the sonic vision from which the kosmiche/krautrock movements of the seventies resulted, also embraces much more contemporary generative forms of electronic music to create a supremely confident and consistent piece of work. An album not to be missed.