[Reviewed by: Damiano Lanzi]
Two qualified noise-makers as the Italian Gabriele Fagnani, aka Corazzata Valdemone and the British Steve Bagman, join their forces in this devastating split album of ‘music for Nazi sexploitation movies’. The artwork itself pictures the female characters of these 70’s and 80’s B-Movies (titles like “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” and “Last Orgy of the Third Reich”), surrounded by futurist slogans. The ingredients of the album are in this way immediately made clear: Futurism (intended as artistic celebration of noise, automation, mechanical power); totalitarian imagery, sordid themes, unjustified violence and sex.
Many listeners would turn up their nose even reading this description, and many would never watch the aforementioned low-budget movies, showing orgies and tortures in concentration camps and SS headquarters. On the other hand, it’s impossible to take these films seriously without recognizing their kitsch value; in the same way it would be a mistake to consider this album as propaganda for any kind of political ideology. If you thought so, the two artists have probably reached their goal: to provoke the listener. You could object that the provocation here is carried beyond the boundaries of good taste, but you’ve got to admit that nowadays it’s difficult to shake people’s conscience without injuring their sense of decency.
Fagnani & Bagman know that most people are refractory to irony on certain themes, so they’re having fun teasing the listener and their unconscious bigotry. The album opens with “1000 Anni Ancora” by Corazzata Valdemone. The rifle bursts and gunshots in the intro give place to an exhilarating Grand-Guignol song, sampled from the 1977 Italian movie “Le Lunghe Notti della Gestapo”, where actress Giovanna sings fascist mottos and tales of whips, harassed bourgeoisie and sadomasochism. The piece proceeds into a murky dark ambient section, with cymbals that sound like they’re being played with blades and then into a traditional industrial part, with FX vocals and a snarly distorted bass guitar.
The three Bagman pieces are opened by a post-apocalyptic version of the “Ode to Joy”, followed by power electronics and distorted howls in “Ein Fraulein”. Bagman’s style is quite static, (while Corazzata Valdemone is more experimental and dynamic) but yet effective. The noise profile is powerful, rich in frequencies and hypnotic. Bagman modulates the noise in an expressionistic fashion; from the electronic storm in “Ein Fraulein” to the uproar of a possessed factory in “Disciplinary Aktion #1” and “Der Sturmer”, that sounds like the cabin of a WW2 Flying Fortress. At the end of the album, two more songs by Corazzata Valdemone. The 17 minutes tour de force of “W Gli Schiaffi” contains a bit of everything; Mussolini speeches, lacerating electric noises, desolated landscapes with ominous war drums in the distance, malfunctioning pipe organs, burning cities, analog bugs and monkeys, et cetera… After that, the two minutes of static noise in “Wunderbar” come almost as a relief!