Banjo Or Freakout - Upside Down

Subtle nuances of melody and rhythmic dexterity permeate these half dozen numbers.

Bringing in the creeping rustle of midnight air, squealing and excitable chicks and raves of distant shores, the Upside Down EP might just be the dreamiest listen this side of Caribou’s Andorra. The name itself seems to breed interest, and as the debut collection for the lone artist under this pseudonym, it certainly demands further investigation.

The melody slides through on first the track ‘Upside Down’ as though on a needle thread before the respiratory swells of acoustic ascend from the background. There is also a piano that sits fidgeting in the background, but it’s the barely-there vocal that makes the greatest impression as Alessio Natalizia repeats “I’m not upside down”, to hypnotic effect. Something literally topsy-turvy for the Allez-Allez Remix which makes up the tail end of the six tracks herein.

Creating an entirely alien sound effect in ‘The Week Before’ there is a rattling like an alarm clock being oven baked. The kind of metronomic pulse that has Animal Collective salivating this track could easily become the soundtrack to a tectonic plate encounter but with distinctly Eastern drumming casting silhouettes across the surface. He keeps things light their feet with a quickening tempo and layered up vocal textures that send ears a-flutter.

The aural distortion makes for an endless sequence of delights, where instruments do not await their turn but harp out melodies and bleeps intermittently. Comparatively they also all come together for a choral like unison on ‘This City Is A Fake’ with a soft glockenspiel barely audible and not one, but three or four Natalizia’s lightly sing above one another. Where the vocal does not die out, the togetherness does and nerve-shredding reverberation takes hold.

Taking a cue from reverb artists like The Big Pink, ‘Like You’ sits in that blurry haze cemented in the fuzz of being awake and asleep all at once. The cyclical steps of the melody take you down into a simpler world of pianos and punctuation, but this is, once again, disrupted by the unintelligible. ‘I And Always’ gleans a foreground of whizzing electro effects and the background, an altogether more danceable creation, fuses the carnival with the aboriginal. It beckons you in with quieter, but more lucrative drumming that culminates in an atmosphere not unlike tripping at a fairground or being sung to underwater.

With the subtle nuances of melody and rhythmic dexterity permeating these half dozen numbers, it could well be that Banjo or Freakout becomes an all the more familiar proposition.

Tags: Banjo Or Freakout, Reviews, EP Reviews

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