Maybe the name ‘Xenoglossy’ might not be that ‘huge’ (yet), but actually Xenoglossy Productions are a not-to-underestimate-label (from Italian soil) at all. Illuminated Manuscripts, Deathvoid or Gonemage; it’s just a limited yet interesting collection of acts on this label, which do deserve any additional support.
I’ll keep it short. This review deals with an album by the project Batrakos, a combo of absurd noisemakers, which contains the members behind the label – Heliogabalus (noise, effects, samples) and Stilgar (synths, shortwave radio). Together with Glossolalia’s curator Kuranes (guitar feedback, bass, noise; also known from e.g. Maestus, Gash or Occulsed), they are active as Batrakos too. And La Pagoda Dell’Irrealtà indeed gets released via, and so on and so on…
It's actually a six-piece experience, clocking about thirty-three minutes, available digitally as well as on tape. The cassette-edition, by the way, is a special one, with cardboard paper (I like that minimalistic approach enormously), but it’s a limited edition (of course). But believe me if I say that the audible content exceeds that visual connection (courtesy of Rednorthernwitch).
The album brings a symbiotic form of Experimental, Noise, Field Recordings and Electronics, with conceptual references to the South-East Asian and Oceanic area (the Oriental background melodies in Suoni Di Un Bordello Della Periferia Di Vientiane [which is the capital of Laos, for your information], for example, are like a manifest). The ‘Music’ (yeah, whatever you will / can call this sonic creativity) gets constructed around harsh and loud textures especially, penetrated by loads of vocal sampling. I’ll get little deeper into both these things, those samples and the ‘instrumentation’. The better instrumental part was done on keyboards, mainly manipulated and filled with loops and effects. Static noises, rumbling sounds, shrieking tunes and more; this noisy experience is both dynamic and paralyzing, both compelling and appeasing. Metallic sound-sculptures and organic aural waves get channeled in well-thought regulated arrangements, yet without losing the catatonic sequelae. A couple of times, like in the title track, things turn into an abyssal dimness, with low-tuned and down-tuned (piano?) keys, doomed and voidlike. Also the introduction of tampered strings and percussions works surprisingly well when used at their specific moments of glory. And one cannot ignore the mesmerizing consequences created by white noise and enigmatic drones.
The use of samples, as said, goes organically well with the ‘real’ instruments. There are the vocal ones, and the field-recorded additions. The samples voices come from different sources: radio transmissions and the likes, in different languages, and from multiple sources: conversations, announcements, online narrations, song-excerpts, and so on. At first it sounds strange – especially when noticing that the many tongues used are not always known. Yet then again, after several listens, it seems to make sense, as part of the whole concept. Besides the vocal additions, there are samples as well from natural origin (weather-laden things), from games, or from archaic basic, the so-called Musique Concrète-kind, with bleeps, ANW-like injections, PE-oriented insertions, and industrial touches. They are multifarious, but (luckily) they are not used with exaggeration.
Uncanny, surreal, disturbing, extreme, out-of-the-box…