Carlos Giffoni Carlos GiffoniEvidence
Carlos Giffoni and Daniel Lopatin cross paths again, this time switching roles. Giffoni, as the head of No Fun Productions, the record label (but also the New York experimental music festival linked to the same platform), was one of the first to be interested in pressing the music of that young producer who called himself, cryptically, Oneohtrix Point Never. His early years were summarised on the double CD anthology titled “Rifts”. Daniel Lopatin explained he went over to Mego with “Returnal” in 2010 because of Giffoni’s rejection of his change in sound. The latter couldn’t see his label working with the development; overprotective of its distinct style he didn’t want even a single friendly line. Since then the two musicians have (slowly and amicably) parted ways.
Two years later, it is Lopatin who is opening the doors of Software to Giffoni - who understands the situation, putting himself in the other’s position. Software isn’t a place for experiments that are too hard; it preferences absorbing, well-outlined synthesizers over a gob of untamed noise. Honouring their friendship, Giffoni has given Lopatin two cuts that are in his more placid line, one would even say bordering on pop - in an unexpected move, Giffoni even sings. The quality of his voice or the pleasantness of his intonation, it must be said, are not really important issues. He hasn’t got a nice timbre, nor does he know how to modulate his voice elegantly, but the simple gesture of using words, instead of an outpouring of viscous sound material that makes you feel dirty, is already a step in a different direction for his uncontrollable career. I say uncontrollable for the flood of sound: over 25 albums and ten EPs since 2005. This is ideal for hooking up with the hypnagogic kids whom he helped to raise back in the day when he was financing the pressing of “Russian Mind”. But besides the use of his voice, the really interesting thing about the two cuts of “Evidence” is the use of acid bass lines. Although they had appeared in the No Fun Acid project, they had been stopped since 2010, when—for reasons difficult to discern– it became fashionable among experimental musicians (Gavin Russom among them), to go back to acid in its stickiest form, in the line of old New York labels from the rave period like Edge Records.
On “Evidence” (the track on the A-side) and “Desire In The Summer”, the strategy is easily discernible. Precisely because it is easy, it impresses immensely on first contact: the beginning of a song, as if lamenting while wracked with pain, and then a tsunami of 303 quickly comes and devours everything, flooding the spectrum of the whole track with furious undulations of house sulphur. Perhaps now, when we speak frequently of ‘hipster house’ - referring to those producers outside the dance music continuum, mainly arriving from rock, who make experimental dance sounds - we should include Giffoni as a valid precedent. “Evidence” does nothing more than recover the original point of his No Fun Acid project (which in the end only produced a 12” and an album, the spasmodic “This Is No Fun Acid 2” and “This Is No Fun Acid 3”), and give it a more pop-friendly twist. In the end the tunes end up being neither pop nor friendly, but they do help us to follow the path, like a donkey trying to reach the carrot that the cart driver is dangling in front of its nose.
The final conclusion is that only two songs, however viscous they end up sounding, are not enough. This is a path that Giffoni should explore all the way, before he gets bored and goes back to his thing, his Guantánamo noise, that flow of uncontrolled bad vibes understood as a modern way of inflicting irreversible psychological damage. “Evidence” is the good cop in this interrogation and torture session. And the good cop always seems nice.