1. “Jessie” – Morricone Youth. This inventive track blends lounge-y jazz saxophone with a Spaghetti western percussion backdrop and an Album Leaf-esque, dreamy digital/analog arrangement. Definitely not something you’ve heard before.
2. “Weather Spirits – Yellowhead. Zinging, ping-ponging synth bonks rattle around over a staccato percussion line and neat samples (static, as well as what sounds like someone breathing) in this instrumental hip-hop track. It’s a way fun ride.
3. “Yamakuza Sunrise” – Sky Vettel. Breakbeats percussion, dj scratching, UFO noises, and funky vocal samples: sign me up for that instrumental hip-hop throwdown.
4. “Post Mortem Muscle Memory” – London Missile. This instrumental hip-hop track skews closer to a chillwave or twee tune, as subtle beats give frame to hushed fuzz, light glitching, a mini-breakbeat section, and sun-dappled moods. Pogo would love this.
5. “Corfu Town” – Hauture. Some chillwave tunes are reverb-heavy fuzz-taculars, but Hauture takes the opposite approach here in creating a precise, pristine electro tune with dreamy atmospheres created through the tones of the synths instead of giant clouds of reverb. The results are a tight, snappy tune that will appeal to fans of Teen Daze.
6. “Lumière” – Noel. There’s so much gravitas packed into this little piano-led instrumental piece that it feels like it could suck the air right out of a room. Made me think of the visual and emotional tension of Inception (but thankfully, the giant foghorns of the soundtrack are not present).
7. “Suddenly Overcome” – Theo Alexander. Like casting stones in swiftly moving water, this piece features left hand chords dropped into a rushing, tumbling right-hand pattern that slowly fades into the background. It’s like a classical piano version of the trick LCD Soundsystem pulls in “All My Friends,” put to very different ends. It’s an emotionally satisfying piece.
8. “INSTYNKT V” – Wojtek Szczepanik. This solo piano piece manages to balance the tensions of soothing and driving, chords and individual melodies, high drama and serene emotions.
9. “Why Go To Paris?” – Alex Tiunaev. A delicate, tender, atmospheric solo piano piece that evokes romantic, mysterious, and melancholy images of the dusky urban cafes in the titular city.
10. “Stairs” – Elgin Thrower Jr. Gentle reverb and hands shifted to the right of the keyboard create an ethereal, soft, pretty piano piece that gracefully moves through space.
11. “Edinburgh” – Nick Watson. Having visited the titular city in 2016, I appreciated the subtle themes that run through this piano-and-strings composition. There’s some city noise in the background, but a gentle set of chords and melodies from the piano take the forefront. (Edinburgh is a bustling place, but there’s also quite a bit of serenity there.) When the strings come in, there’s a sense of arch elegance in the tone contrasting with some severe, serious bowing and rhythms. The city is beautiful but also Scottish: grey, wet, dark, and gloomy. My visitor’s impression of the city is well-captured in this piece.
Band Name: Morricone Youth
Album Name: Silenzio Violento
Best Element: Ambitious songwriting and instrumentation.
Label Name: n/a
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Silenzio Violento is a sprawling mess of an album. It’s nearly sixty minutes of jazz-infused indie-rock, dark atmosphere, sudden bursts of near-cacophony, some rocking out, and a lot of melancholy pondering. But yet, when I get to the end of Silenzio Violento, my first thought is “Wow, let’s hear that sprawling mess of an album again!”
Morricone Youth started out as a band that covered soundtrack scores- they even take their name from famous composer Enrico Morricone. Thus, it’s no surprise that opening track “Silenzio Violento (titoli)” sounds pretty much like the opening credits on a movie- the guitars are epic and sweeping, as if surveying a ravaged landscape; the snare-heavy drums are separated and military, punctured with ominous bells in the background; the female vocals are a high, wispy, forlorn aria that deliver even more majestic melancholy.
But it’s not all soundtrack fare here. As if to prove that the Youth are not the ravaged landscape, but the ones about to ravage it, the next track “Starshine” blasts out of the gate in an indie-rock vendetta. “I can’t wait for this rocketship to finally get us off!” calls Dreiky Caprice, as the band launches dramatically into a dark, complex, wondrous universe of music. The tenor saxophone leads the sound here, playing fat and loud. The layers of keys lay down a strong foundation along with the punchy bass and jazzy drumming. The vocals and guitars fit together on top of all this madness, bringing a sense of cohesiveness. The vocals are high but never obnoxious- passionate but never over-the-top.
Morricone Youth enjoys pushing boundaries- throughout this album they consistently experiment with new soundscapes and ideas, all the while retaining the dark, eerie feel of a cramped backroom venue. It’s like OK Computer with less social agenda and more jazzy chaos; more passion, less disaffection.
Because of their scope and range, every song is worth describing. “Bye Bye (take 5)” features fast trip-hop drumming under a slow-moving slab of ‘ah’ vocals, smooth keys, and lounge-esque sax, creating an unique mood, while “Monster” passes almost a minute and a half with fuzzed out vocals of an argument scuffling along under some static and other excess noise. It breaks out into a rollicking chase scene of a song, eventually. “Hoist” is a funky endeavor that calls up memories of 80’s cop shows. No joke. “Brujo Malo” is an amazing indie-rock song- starting out with an ominous low-end piano line, picking up a quick drumline, grabbing a wordless, jumpy vocal line, adding in some distorted guitar, throwing down some creepy organ notes- the song is nerve-wracking.
Silenzio Violento has a dramatic air to it that imparts the notion that Morricone Youth wrote a rock opera about a seedy underworld crime ring and this is just the music part of it. There’s slow songs [“Bye Bye (End Credits)”“>, jazzy songs (“Funny Thing”), crazy songs (“Brujo Malo”), simpler songs (“I.V.A.N.”), and everything in between. Their talent is undeniable, their creativity is unbelievable, and their audaciousness is almost unmatchable. If you’re up for an indie-rock experience that will make you think “What the heck?” just as often as “Heck yes!”, then Morricone Youth’s tricked-out soundtrack music is for you. I know I can’t stop listening to it.