Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bronnt Industries Kapital / Jasmina Maschina / Squeeze Me Macaroni @ Bristol Folk House, Friday 30th April


Gig-goers may recognise Serena Cavalera from irrepressible art-punks Yoshy! but it’s her sensitive side on display tonight. As Squeeze Me Macaroni she serves up a warts and all post-rock that’s all the more beguiling for its imperfections. By turns menacing and melancholy, layers of delayed guitar create a glorious muddle that often threatens to turn violent. Her voice, used sparingly, brings to mind Stina Nordenstam at her most spooked. With no backing track to pin it down each song is constructed in the moment, lending a rough physicality to even the dreamiest sections. When she lets rip it’s truly unsettling.

Jasmina Maschina is easier on the ears but less compelling. Prozac-sweet vocals meander around nursery rhyme chord progressions and a laptop full of ambient textures. The arrangements are prettily atmospheric but many of the songs are so light they’re in danger of floating away in a cloud of whimsy. While this would no doubt be charming in small doses, over a whole set it can get a little numbing.

There's always been a soundtrack aspect to Guy Bartell's work as Bronnt Industries Kapital. Even his most straightforward electronica is informed more by the mysteries of cinema than those of the dancefloor. Tonight's selections are drawn from 2007’s Haxan, Bartell's soundtrack to a controversial early Swedish film about witchcraft. Fortunately, the music speaks for itself, evoking moods from creeping unease through gut-level horror to a sort of pagan rapture. The four piece band offer up synthesisers, french horn, flute, guitar and drums as sacrifices to Bartell's bonfire of sonic treatments. The result is subtle, powerful music that’s equal parts intricate melody and thrilling cacophony. As always, Bronnt’s vision is unique. They bring to life the repressed folk memories bad dreams are made of.

This review appeared in Venue Magazine on Friday 7th May
Guy Bartell photographed by Matt Collins.

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