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My Cat Is An Alien & Joëlle Vinciarelli, "Eternal Beyond III"

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cover imageThis is the third and final installment of the Opalio brothers' wild and oft-brilliant collaborations with Talweg/La Morte Young’s Joëlle Vinciarelli, as "according to arcane, ancient cultures, sometimes things must come to an end to be "Eternal.""  While something wonderful tends to happen just about every single time these three artists convene, this Arthur Rimbaud-inspired installment is the one that the Opalios personally consider the best of the series (at the moment, at least).  I do not think I could choose a favorite album from the trilogy, but the opening "Eternal Fanfare for the Warriors" is definitely one of my favorite MCIAA-related pieces to date.  While the trio are currently unsure whether the conclusion of the trilogy is their collaborative swansong or just one phase in their continuing evolution, they can safely lay claim to having conjured some of the most visceral and unique sounds to reach my ears in recent memory.  Vinciarelli's intensity and unusual collection of instruments is a perfect foil (and grounding force) for the Opalios' otherworldly psychedelia.

Elliptical Noise/Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers!

This album combines two separate sessions recorded in Vinciarelli’s studio in the French Alps, which is notable because 2018’s two-part "Eternal Éternité" was spontaneously composed in a very different world than "Eternal Fanfare for the Warriors" (which dates from May 2020).  On one level, that makes a lot of sense, as “Eternal Fanfare” has a certain go-for-broke intensity that befits such dark and troubling times, yet that interpretation cannot hold up in light of the similarly feral second half of "Eternal Éternité."  In any case, both pieces are memorable for both their volcanic ferocity and their expanded sound palette (as far out as they are, the Opalios' vision inarguably features some eternally recurring and instantly recognizable elements).  In the case of "Eternal Fanfare," however, the expected space ritual features a big surprise in the form of strangled trumpet squawking from Vinciarelli (along with some similarly unexpected sleigh bells from Maurizio).  It is the exquisite feel of an ancient war procession passing through a rip in the dimensional fabric for a hissing, bleary, and lysergically smeared adventure into the unknown. 

Naturally, the first half "Eternal Eternité" offers no respite at all from the cosmic phantasmagoria, as the album only becomes more of a harrowing mindfuck and there are no longer any friendly or familiar sounds like trumpets and sleigh bells to provide solid ground: just fifteen unnerving and unrepentant minutes of howling, dissonantly harmonized drones rising and falling.  As radical art, it is admittedly impressive, but I prefer the more human-sounding terrain of the second half (like the dissonance-averse coward that I am).  "Eternal Éternité (Pt. 2)" initially returns to more traditional alien fare (Roberto's wordless vocalizations, spacey electronics, and something that sounds like an out-of-tune zither), but Vinciarelli soon joins in with some vocal drones akin to Tuvan throat singing.  As the layers accumulate, however, it blossoms into something that resembles an even more nightmarish version of Tarkovsky's Solaris in which the protagonist violently scrabbles at a piano soundboard while being sucked into a roiling maelstrom of static.  In short, great stuff (as always).  While I am not sure I have a strong enough constitution to revisit the first part of "Eternal Éternité" any time soon, Eternal Beyond III handily meets my criteria for prime My Cat is an Alien: a pair of great pieces, a few new stylistic elements, and the kind of mindmelting deep space cacophony that only the Opalios can channel.

Samples can be found here.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 October 2021 13:09  


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