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Carlos Giffoni - Welcome Home

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Artist: Carlos Giffoni

Album: Welcome Home

Label: Important

Review date: Dec. 8, 2005

His name may now be synonymous with that of No Fun Fest, but those who know Carlos Giffoni only as the impresario of the Brooklyn festival would do well to explore his past work, under his own name and as a member of Monotract and Old Bombs. Welcome Home, surprisingly, is his first “real” solo album after years of smaller releases and collaborations. No matter the project, Giffoni’s always been an enthusiastic collaborator and a musician who seems quite comfortable surrounded by a diverse cast of like-minded international noisemongers. Welcome Home, however, proves that Carlos is just as comfy going it alone. And that it’s well worth hearing him do so.

Welcome Home, like much of Giffoni’s recent work, is centered around the laptop, an instrument often chided as cold and inhuman. And while it’s true that the music usually feels more artificial than organic, Giffoni’s no ineffectual desktop jockey, and Welcome Home concedes nothing in the way harsh physicality and visceral crunch. The ear abuse on the disc is abundant, finely diced digital shrapnel arranged in a whirling storm of metallic dust. And while Giffoni’s palette isn’t a largely exotic one, his work exudes a bloody-knuckles mentality that other laptop musicians rarely attain. Welcome Home constantly batters the ears with sound, almost hyperactive in the way it seems in constant motion and always moving in three different directions at once. Still, Giffoni’s presence in the music is always present; it’s obvious that this isn’t sound gone uncontrollably awry. Piece-specific themes come into play, but one of Carlos’ strengths is the ability to introduce a bevy of ideas within a single track without overburdening the listener or ruining the flow of the sound. In fact, when Welcome Home veers on stimuli overload, it’s in a way that excites rather than annoys, with Giffoni’s crowded, unpredictable masses as busy as a teeming ant farm.

Whether or not Welcome Home will earn Carlos Giffoni more of the repute he deserves as a solo artist, it’s a great thing that Important was able to issue the disc, a product of three years of work on three different continents. With No Fun 2006, a new Monotract LP, and some choice collaborative action in Giffoni’s future, perhaps it’s inevitable that this long-awaited solo debut will soon concede the spotlight to another disc in Giffoni’s oeuvre. For now, though, Welcome Home deserves the attention, extracurriculars be damned.

By Adam Strohm

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