In recent years, Maple Death Records has emerged as a vital cross-continental conduit. While splitting their time between the European cities of London and Bologna, the label’s roster of North American releases includes Cindy Lee’s spectral girl-group pop, Slaylor Moon’s cyborgian gristleisms, the woozy folk of Krano, and Jack Name’s shadow songs. The imprint’s latest offering from Italian experimental duo WOW combines many of the label’s sonic fixations. Exploring the shadowy space between Rebekah Del Rio’s Lynch-evoking nightclubs and Broadcast’s soundtrack for the haunted film within a film of Berberian Sound Studio, they bridge music scenes once again with a swooning saxophone cameo from Kyle Knapp of Toronto’s Deliluh.
Drummer/singer China Now and guitarist Leo Non have released four albums prior to Come La Notte, while moving between multiple creative practices in their hometown of Rome. According to the liner notes, “the album was directly inspired by their experimental club night Bad Peace that takes place at Roma Est’s now cult venue Fanfulla.” It also points to “their participation in Almost Nothing, a theatrical piece taking cues from Michelangelo Antonioni’s Il Deserto Rosso (The Red Desert) that saw the band outside of its usual habitat, on stages across the world in a context where art is valued for art.”
It’s easy to imagine WOW’s music scoring the dreamlike despair of Monica Vitti, yet Come La Notte succeeds as a standalone listen. “Niente Di Speciale” features Knapp’s sax swirling and unfurling like plumes of smoke that could make Audrey Horne sway. “Vieni Un Po’ Qui” adds sighing strings to a swing beat with vocals recalling Beth Gibbons’ collaboration with the Polish National Radio Symphony. “Morire Per Amore” picks up the pace with a hair-raising organ solo, while the conga-funk of “Occhi Di Serpente” could bubble up on Goblin’s Bikini Island. The album ends with “Domani”, a slow-burning shuffle originally written by ’70s pop crooner Franco Fanigiulo. Erasing the constraints of time and geographical borders, WOW could appeal to your nonna cooking in the kitchen or the sample-scouring crate-diggers of the future. words/j locke
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