On To Be a Beast, Dino Spiluttini applies characteristic techniques of quivering harmonic tension to a new study, both in muscular loudness and in repetition as a form of variation.
As with Spiluttini's previous work, many of the pieces on To Be a Beast are the result of subjecting piano recordings to extensive processing. While earlier releases have tended towards quieter and looser structures, these new pieces comprise revolving motifs derived from tape loops. However, these phrases are not unvarying, locked grooves. They writhe in a thick air of jostling, distorted intensity; always in motion, gnashing through brickwall compression.
Often misused in music production, here the technique of heavy compression directly services the concepts of discomfort, sorrow, unrestrained physical and spiritual strength and ecstatic joy that run through the record. These are autobiographical topics, informed by painful nostalgia, the nauseating pressures of life and creative self-doubt; but also hope and joy. The core of the album, exactly captured in its title, is the anxious navigation of such disparate themes, buffeted alternately by violent forces of uncertainty, longing and confidence.
The overall result of Spiluttini's intimate, unrestrained approach is distinctive. It is dominated by the loud volume and harmonic walls of shoegaze pop, but its emotional drive is hyperactive and multifaceted rather than dreamy and ambiguous. It might fall somewhere close to the most poignant moments of Tape Loop Orchestra or even William Basinski, but ultimately, these twelve short tracks are entrenched within their own remarkable territory.
(Edward Trethowan, 2017)
released March 31, 2017
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Dino Spiluttini.
Artwork by Dino Spiluttini