It is needless to say that Suoni Per Il Popolo breeds the perfect breadth of genres for music connoisseurs to seriously get out of their comfort zones. However, this can result in either happy or less-welcome surprises. Seeing the opening band, Brooklyn-based Young Magic (YM), at Sala Rossa was indubitably a happy one.
Far from your average dream-pop and too special to dump in the overemployed experimental electronic music category, YM’s sound translates into masterfully layered synth lines with textured soundscapes.
Their latest LP Breathing Statues, released on May 6th, dominated the first half of their set. YM describes it as “landscape of violence and grace”. The band quickly mesmerized its audience with projected images and clips from Sergei Parajanov’s 1968 Armenian film “The Color of Pomegranates”. These ethereal visuals proved a well-suited compliment to Melati Malay’s eerily raw and sensual vocals and distorted guitar solos.
The second half of the set featured material from their 2012 album Melt. Slightly more psychedelic with its dark modal melodies, YM left the crowd meditative yet energized, closing with two of my favorites: “Sparkly” and “Night In The Ocean”. Weaving this all together, their performance held up to their self-description as “gold dreamers, aspiring world wanderers, silk sounders”.
Sadly, British headliners Fuck Buttons (FB) were less inspiring. Unmistakably drone music, bordering on noise rock, with hints of Mogwai-inspired post-rock progressions, the experience was dizzying and draining. Their set included tracks from their critically acclaimed third album, Slow Focus, released in July 2013.
Despite scoring 80 on Metacritic, I found their downtempo style redundant. Their presentation fell flat. One song flowed from one to the next without distinction, sucking the crowd into a nonconsensual time warp that failed to deliver the expected payoff. I was only really able to get into a groove with their more trance-like material (e.g. “The Red Wing”). All in all, it was way too much reverb for my nervous system to handle.
When it comes to anything electronic, the Brits usually exceed expectations. But unfortunately for FB, their conceptual nature felt more like an art project than a music performance.
– Jessica Newfield