Features I by I 03.04.14

Forgotten Classics: Leo Anibaldi’s Muta

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Forgotten Classics is a new weekly feature where we ask FACT contributors and noted diggers from across the spectrum to pick an obscure gem that they think has been unfairly brushed under the carpet and explain why it’s worthy of re-appraisal. This week:


Leo Anibaldi
Muta
(ACV, 1993)

Picked by: Mordant Music founder and curator of the curious Baron Mordant.


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Leo Anibaldi is hardly an obscure figure in the techno/electronica realm, but his ACV LP Muta from 1993 is, I opine, not only an overlooked gilt-edged classic, but musically the sound of a place like The Overlook Hotel itself…

I first imbibed this LP a few years after its release while reading Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – thinking they’d make the right kind of imperfect coupling with neither one in tandem imposing too heavily on the other…they duetted for many months – the tome eventually took a decade to finish in fits & starts but from the outset Muta has remained a consistent staple in the Mordant Nesst…

I wasn’t a fervent follower of labels like ACV at the time & remember generally reading that era like an intermittent Blind Pew latching onto only a handful of LPs here & there…Muta was the first Anibaldi record I’d heard, and it totally satisfied my murky electronic leanings – it’s as much a suite for the decay of derelict structures as it is a contextual mood-changer while squashing foodstuffs in Lidl…If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It by Christophe De Babalon has a similar gait…

The album itself is presented as two distinct stylistic halves, and it’s the first half that has prompted this outburst of square quilling…there’s a quality to both the poise of the music & the detuned artwork that’s not quite right, but which ends up being its strength & allure…in truth the album, particularly the gatefold artwork, has a fair deal in common with Italian progressive rock, & the suite of untitled tracks, particularly on Disc One, could effortlessly score any Argento flick – perhaps not quite out-Goblining Goblin, but there’s a brooding malevolence in the overall mood that spews techno-prog entrails across the canvas…

Track four, the LP’s apogee, certainly suits Marquez’s descriptive brilliance – think David (via Gary) Gilmour’s desiccated guitar fronds shredding velvet curtains in the billiard room as roaming cows chew on the remaining baize…there’s also, in spirit at least, a connection with sports casual Industrial druid Maurizio Bianchi – an imagined feeling of enforced claustrophobia that probably isn’t borne out in either’s working practices but suits this listener’s personal vista …there’s both a meticulous & dextrous feel to the programming, which is as tight as a tourniquet,  aswell as a cold sweat warmth to the mood like the feverish nausea that being ill in warm climes induces…

The LP exhibits an exotic palette of vintage analogue sediment – this is how I hear it & what it conjures up in the greyscale library: a pair of herniated bellows, the insistent circuitry of a locked video-game, the tightest flanged hats in Rome, spectral whistles from ransacked battlefields, distended FM voices asking for more time, searing percussive Aphexisms, drums running on the spot & the sound of empty entrance halls & vestibules the world o’er…

The second disc finally finds the baccarat party in full swing as the rusticated faces of all participants get tuned to perfection – in truth it’s a little nondescript compared to the first disc, but nevertheless the LP remains a stunning paean to overstretched opulence & detuned lakeside villas hired out as archival storage dumps…a maze in grace…BM

Mordant Music’s website is here.

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