Black Paintings

Pietro Riparbelli is the Italian sound-sculptor noted in the current issue of TSP with a couple of highly atmospherically-charged items released under his K11 cowl, which confirmed his interest in church architecture, sacred zones, spirit communication and the occult. Plus we hear by wire that he’s also got a new release called 4 Churches out on Touch. Well, here at TSP we’ve gotten a bundle of black boxes from him this Autumn. Of these, three are limited CDRs credited to his Tele S. Therion project, which he does in collaboration with S.G. Just spinning The Chapel (RADICAL MATTERS RMCE 017) as I write, which is intriguingly described as “acousmatic black metal” and the cuts are all numbered variants of the title “Black Painting”. Savagely sludgy noise-drone is on offer fer sure, but it also serves up quieter moments that are extremely sinister. Among other things, there is a intentional link to the Rothko Chapel and presumably the painter himself.

On the luxuriant double CD, Tele S. Therion team up with LUNURUMH [Astral Lueur] to produce H I N T H V . R I T V V M (RMCE 013), two full discs of highly occultist ambient dark drone. The creators’ hope with this “private ritual audio installation” is that you will spin both discs simultaneously or in curious dissynchronous combinations, the better to summon up dark forces and unknown elements from the nether regions. This one’s got a series of insufferable Ritual Sigil-Lyrics apparently borrowed from ancient Etruscan texts which are intoned in a slow and creaky chanting voice against their slow-motion explosion noises. Impressive that the package on this limited set is all hand made, but the same goes for all these Radical Matters imprints which are like miniature art-object mutiples.

Nature Unveiled (RMCE 009) is an unashamed concept album based on the 1994 release of the same name by Current 93. One gets the sense that the Italians are trying to up the ante on David Tibet’s project in terms of their ultra-esoteric occult references, but as to how the music measures up I couldn’t really say. It’s produced by means of far-out electro-acoustic distortions and short-wave radios, but I like the way the duo credit themselves with “instrumental transcommunication actions” and “phono-medianic record sessions”, convinced that they are channelling hidden messages and other phantasmagoric entities through their performing work, turning their very torsos into ectoplasmic radio receivers. Fabulous photo of a church wall painting is folded around this package.

All the above strike me as perfectly non-musical in their blackened assaults on the ear, and are to be welcomed into your ashen household for that very reason. In comparison K11’s The Sacred Wood (OLD EUROPA CAFE OECD141) is approaching a more listenable proposition with its multi-layered and complex treatments which sometimes coalesce into ambient drones with identifiable root chords of sorts. Given that it comes across as a more varied and textured spin on the Sunn O))) heavily-amplified guitar formula, it’s interesting that this material was built up out of field recordings, radio signals and voices rather than a Gibson Les Paul and a stack of Marshall amps. It’s another instalment in his research into the aural properties generated by what he designates “sacred places”, this time the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo, a curious spot overlooking the Tiber valley which represents an example of 16th-century landscape gardening peopled with grotesque sculptures, commissioned by Vicino Orsini for reasons M.R. James alone would understand. “Here Be Dragons” might be your initial reaction, but it’s clear that K11 really wants us to explore beneath surface appearances as he spins his strange sonic tales.