Ital ItalDream On
One of the advantages of coming to electronic music in an unusual way is open-mindedness and a lack of prejudices when it comes to creation. Ital is a case in point. Anchored in the American underground noise spectrum and shaped by post-hardcore bands like Black Eyes, Daniel Martin-McCormick understands electronica as a mound of clay, where the decomposition of elements can give rise to every form imaginable. It is a free expression, in which capturing the strength of a primary, untamed gesture is much more important than remaining faithful to canons or models.
Ital had already used this modus operandi, at different levels, on his releases for 100% Silk and on “Hive Mind”, the album (or EP, depending on how you look at it) that he released on Planet Mu at the beginning of the year, but he takes it a step further with “Dream On”. Martin-McCormick starts from the essences of house and techno and reinterprets them, subjecting them to a process of deconstruction and mutation in which spontaneity reigns above all else. And if this may include dissonance, out-of-place beats and impoverished textures, then they are welcome. “Despot”, the first track, shows this perfectly. In it, a bass with a touch of trance, a syncopated rhythm that sounds like low-speed soca, and out-of-tune vocal cuts all come together, topped off with strange pads that seem to melt like burning candles. And even so, it works.
In “Boi”, the sound is more domesticated, but the fancy footwork is no less, in this case juxtaposing a loop from Beyoncé’s “Baby Boy” and aquatic atmospheres that clearly draw on Drexciya, with syncopated 2-Step rhythms propelling the mixture along. With “Eat Shit (Waterfall Mix)” and “Enrique” we enter into the more standoffish, threatening segment of the album. The first is an ode to distortion, in which the melody is twisted to inhuman limits over raw rhythms, in a track that reminds one a great deal of the rougher productions of his admired Jamal Moss. In the second, we head down into the depths of dark ambient, with ghostly laments and machine-like noise that wouldn’t be out of place in the Blackest Ever Black catalogue. In the brief “Housecapella”, Ital once again shows signs of a taste for putting textures through the frequency grinder to come up with another ration of that sort of flawed house that has become one of his trademarks. The last section of the album leaves space for rays of light to creep into the unhealthy atmospheres that mark the general tone of the album. This is especially clear on “What A Mess”, in which cyberdelic melodies and storms of feedback melt into sharp rhythmic cuts and psychophonic eruptions to create something that seems like a tortuous interpretation of the precepts of Fuck Buttons. The album closes with “Deep Cut (Live Edit)”, the cut of the seven that is most clearly aimed at the dance floor. In spite of this, the way Ital twists the effects as he goes along (as the title says, the track is recorded live) subjects the emotion of the sequences once again to the harshness of raw noise, again turning what is essentially a euphoric house track into a fertilised field for the most visceral experimentation.
As we said a few lines above, Ital isn’t very concerned with the conventions of what dance music “should be”. For him it’s only a point of departure through which to channel an expressive force relying entirely on instinct, with the aim of transmitting energy in the purest possible form. In this sense, “Dream On” is probably his most personal work to date. It’s an album that is hard to digest, but amidst its brew of stylistic derivations, one catches a glimpse of an unassailable desire to create a discourse that is entirely his own. And awash in a sea of references, as we are, this is a real achievement.