Uncodified / Wertham – Vindicta I CD Old Europa Cafe 2013
On this new release Marco Deplano (aka Wertham), has teamed up with the relatively new Italian project Uncodified, which up until this point was an unknown quantity to these ears. Noting both artists work within a broad power electronics frame, here the two acts have sought to blend the sound of each individual project. Likewise for its thematic focus the promo material highlights that: “‘Vindicta’, is the first chapter of a trilogy focusing on grim/tragic aspects of Sardinian culture. ‘Vindicta’ tries to capture stills of a dying culture where family was sacred, the knife was considered a man’s best friend, and blood called for blood”.
On ‘Vindica I’ it goes without saying that it displays a staunchly power electronics style. Yet here the focus is on meticulous constructed tracks which sit within seething, mid-toned sound range by combining multi-layered crumbling analog based distortion, metallic junk clatter, sweeping noise and the idling tones of rumbling factory machinery. Whilst the overarch sound is one that is brutally heavy, the album still delivers a churning atmospheric bent. What is also specifically evident is the firm control placed on the layered sound elements, which have a sharp focused tonality. As such the atmosphere is one of sustained sound elements which are delivered with burrowing and invasive intensity. On many tracks there is mid to high pitched piercing noise which takes on a centrally prominent focus and embodies a tinnitus like quality. In fact such noise sits within a sound range which pretty much reflect the tonal range of my own low grade tinnitus – something which I spend a lot of time simply trying to ignore, but which is effectively masked by this album when being played. Vocals when present are stylistically hard and yelled in delivery, being prominent in the mix and drenched in echo and distortion treatment – as are some dialogue sample which are scattered throughout various tracks. The late album track ‘Il binario degli appesi’ sets itself apart by using the tolling of a lone church bell (at the start and end of the track), whilst the spoken vocals are delivered as an almost religiously fevered mantra, although admittedly the message is lost on me given its delivery in Italian.
Clearly ‘Vindicta I’ is not intent on reinventing what power electronics is and can be, rather it is the by product of skilled musicians working within the parameters of this style. To this end there is no clumsy handling of the noise compositions nor empty posturing to be found here. What can be found however is a hard hitting, meticulously composed and expertly controlled power electronics album which contains intelligently focused and conceptually interesting subject material. Recommended.