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Carlos Giffoni - Eternal Noise

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Artist: Carlos Giffoni

Album: Eternal Noise

Label: Bottrop-Boy

Review date: Jul. 10, 2008

It’s rare for a record to sound exactly like what its title suggests. Sure, lots of titles are evocative of the music the record contains, but few titles actually serve as descriptors of their sound. Kevin Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma comes to mind, as does Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun, but while Trout Mask Replica or A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die set the tone for the album, they don’t explicitly tell you what you’re going to hear. Eternal Noise is indeed a kind of eternal noise, though not without a few qualifications.

The eternal is the easier word to parse. Giffoni here deals exclusively with shape-shifting drones, mostly around the lower partials of the overtone series. Each of the four tracks doesn’t evolve so much as amorphously change emphasis at a geologic or tectonic pace, almost a history of the Earth heard from the inside or the sound of individual molecules vibrating, a kind of nano-counterpoint. Even where there is a pulse within the drone, it serves not as a driving teleological force but rather as a mere marker of the passing time, alluding to the stasis of the most ambient of krautrock tracks. On top of that, Giffoni seems to be evoking a kind of throat singing where the vocal chords have been replaced by charged wires that crackle, buzz, and distort as they vibrate. Each overtone has its own individual color of noise, so the composite is like the gradual color shifts of oil on water or of a dissolving Gobstopper.

Were those flavors of noise not so harsh around the edges, this album could almost be meditative. It is fitting that the liner notes are mostly pictures of Japanese temples, since their serenity is clearly behind almost every sound here, even the harsh ones. And when each track cuts off suddenly, it feels as if you're being unwillingly wrested back into reality.

By Dan Ruccia

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