this review originally appeared in Thaumaturgy, a blog dedicated to new experimental and psychedelic music
Thursday, Feburary 10, 2005
I've always liked bands that swallow down lots of different musical influences, and then vomit them back up again in a kind of half-digested form. The commingled mixture that issues forth from these types of bands isn't always pleasant, but it can be fascinating to try identifying the recognizable bits floating in it.
Enter Ovo, a duo made up of Stefania Pedretti and Bruno Dorella, from Italy. Their album Cicatrici ("Scars") starts blaring its championing of violent hybridization from the moment you lay eyes on the cover art, which features a drawing of two happy amputees stitched together at the arm-stump. The music follows through on the promise of the image by taking a dog's breakfast of partsdoom-metal riffs, the sweaty percussive energy of hardcore, studio-based noise-fuckery, weird vocal uluationsand, over the course of nine tracks, conjoining them all together into a freaky chimera.
The sluggish metal grime and Gollum-esque vocals of "Ombra Nell Ombra" might appeal to fans of Sunn O))) or Khanate, and the overdriven squall that the violin of "Phiphenomena" disintegrates into might appeal to fans of acts like Cock ESP (who Ovo have toured with), but the album overall is more reminiscent of the radical chamelonic antics of the Boredoms, particularly circa Super AE or Chocolate Synthesizer. As with those great records, the crushingly heavy or brutally abrasive elements here are always mercifully leavened by a giddy humor, a nearly cartoonish element. (Imagine two Muppets starting a noise band and you'll be getting close to imagining the Ovo soundworld.)
If pressed, I'd admit that Ovo doesn't quite reach the awe-inspiring heights that the Boredoms, at their best, can scale: Cicatrici isn't without its paler moments, pieces that flag or flail. But the record as a whole still feels startlingly fresh and consistently original. Well worth checking out, and a band to watch for the future.
On Bar La Muerte.