1997EV is a fairly far-out Italian oddity, whose sole mysterious member began their solo career in 1999 with MicroWhen on the Trasponsonic label, dabbling in a species of mind-expanding psychedelic rock clearly inspired by their own interpretation of Psychic TV’s exploration of “new horizons”…1997EV went on to evolve through post-psych into an experimental electronica act, with recent cassettes Subsirkus Sinus Lille Vega and Strobos Vann for the German Reue Um Reue label. We might be hearing a synthesis of both musical identities on the full-length album Love Symposium Alien Spider (BORING MACHINES), which uses drones, drum machines, heavily-processed weird vocals, and mesmerising doped-out guitar riffs to generate menacing spells and unpleasant impressions of bad trips, or something far worse.
Although some trappings of hippy-music are in evidence (fuzzed electric guitar, acoustic guitar strums, hypnotic drones), in essence 1997EV is an industrial / neofolk musician, origins which I think are detectable in the approach to song form and the construction of the recordings. Every song here is haunted by a terrible sense of things going badly wrong, of unwanted mental and physical experiences that cannot easily be escaped or reversed. In fact the very term “alien spider” seems an apt description of the aggressive effects of LSD, a drug which I gather is extremely invasive and unstoppable when it comes to colonising every part of your consciousness after you’ve “dropped” a “tab”. I would liken it to an evil spider spinning its web across your defenceless mind.
1997EV have their origins in an earlier “scene” from Sardinia called Hermetic Brotherhood of Lux-Or, who ran a label called Trasponsonic for a few years, and were noted in 2014 by that self-proclaimed king of weirdness Julian Cope: “chaotic whirlpool of Italian bare-faced, bare-back devilry [which] inhabits the wild free realms of religion’s end” is how he described them approvingly. Given his increasingly loopy anti-authoritarian and libertarian agenda, this seems in keeping. The original Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor was one of many shady 19th century occultist organisations, even preceding the Order of the Golden Dawn, although it’s far from clear what principles its adherents abided by. I’m surprised Simon Balestrazzi hasn’t immortalised them in sound yet, but perhaps he already has. The Trasponsonic label has left few identifiable traces unfortunately, and even their website domain has expired.
As to this unsettling and dark record, label press describe it as “surreal trance impro style onto subliminal free-pop-folk industrial structures”, if that linguistic pile of spaghetti means anything to you. By me, it’s an uncertain and incoherent release, whose central ideas are not well defined, but through design or accident its distressed and shimmering sound-surface does occasionally manage to unhinge the mind. From 31 December 2015.