My Cat is an Alien / Mats Gustafsson
Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs series - Vol. IV

Painting Petals on Planet Ghost
Fallen Camellias

[Opax Records,]

  Opalio brothers continue their quest for world-wide supremacy in all that is weird and cosmic. The "Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LP series" is now at Vol. IV. Working with the same format as before, the duo allows their guest to contribute a piece to side A of the record, while they fill side B in its entirety. This time around, their guest is none other than Swedish sax guru Mats Gustafsson. Recorded in 2006, his 22 minute long piece "I have not set any time limits for the attempt" begins subtly enough with a warm set of electronic rumbling which is then joined by tenor sax to make a drone effect. I wish this went on for eternity as the atmosphere is particularly akin to a relaxing sound. But surely enough, soon the pops and spittle start to appear on the horizon. Gustafsson then begins his extended solo on tenor and weevil sax, which is later joined by barrage of electronics. Like a helicopter taking off and flying away, the whole piece ends in the same surrounding gentility that it started off in. Entitled "Everything burns like cosmic debris", My Cat is an Alien's piece begins with low-rumbling percussion and a haunting chant from one of the brothers. In time, this turns to a machine-like drone that is still accompanied by those same chants [cries for help? ecstasy?]. With the employment of more toys, the duo cranks up volume and intensity, while the chants get louder and more direct. One can almost picture the galaxies exploding and Milky Way being ravaged under the duo's spell. Soothing, yet highly disturbing in its own unique way, this marks another successful attempt by the Opalio brothers at bringing the cosmos down to earth to mere mortals.

  Painting Petals on Planet Ghost is a trio made up of Opalio brothers on guitars, glockenspiel, accordion, keyboard, harmonica, field recordings and Ramona Ponzini who sings and plays Japanese bells and wind chimes. Second album for the trio "Fallen Camellias" is different from MCIAA record in its forced subtlety. All five pieces on the record have lyrics taken from Yosano Akiko's poems. Ponzini begins the record with a haunting rendition of "Honoo no ko". As her voice flutters in the still air, Maurizio Opalio gently strums his acoustic guitar, while Roberto throws in delicate atmospheric vibrations. Next number "Kari" sees Ponzini singing in a chamber location, while acoustic guitar along with bells and chimes add a particularly haunting ingredient to the mix. Overall, this is a very gentle record, one that allows the listener to gain insight into more sedate side of MCIAA. Under the right circumstance, it could possibly be used to achieve a pure meditative state of mind and body.

  - Tom Sekowski

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>> My Cat is an Alien / Mats Gustafsson - Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs series - Vol. IV / Painting Petals on Planet Ghost - Fallen Camellias
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