Satan Is My Brother, “A Forest Dark”

August 31, 2011
By Mike Pursley

Satan is My Brother, from Milan, have recorded eight movements inspired by “L’inferno,” an early Italian silent film, now 100 years old.  Dante and Virgil’s underworld journey as realized in the film of course looks its age, but is an extraordinarily inventive and impressive piece of cinema for its, or any, time. Musicians have been long fascinated by this work; most famously Tangerine Dream who did a (very uneven) soundtrack for it. “A Forest Dark” isn’t a proper soundtrack, but is music inspired by the film.

“Movimento I” emerges from nothingness with horns, cymbals, and shadowed frequencies stirring like steam from a cauldron and segues effortlessly into the secod movement’s slow vibes and bass grooving nonchalant under a hunted sky, uncoiling into free time and synching up again. “III” is faster, more prog, with horns playing “out” and whipping up a mighty din to be followed by “IV”’s subtle laptop chatter and unsubtle closed-fist keyboard mashing.

“V” walks a menacing slow dirge procession into the sixth movement’s refined, bass driven fusion that lets chaos grow into order and ends up as if by accident locked into meterless electro-acoustic orbit. On “VII” keys and horns wind upward over languid bass and are lost in sheets of ambient cobwebs, melting into the final movement, growing incrementally frantic, each player holding nothing back until the fever breaks and the ensemble retreats into previous themes to create resolution.

This record gets stronger with every play. Each movement becomes more unique while the record becomes more unified as a whole. Influences are evident- the telepathic collectivity of the Arkestra, the cinematic noir of Badalamenti, the spell of electric Miles- but I wouldn’t call this derivative. This album is perfectly composed and decomposed, well worth loosing your way in.

Boring Machines

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One Response to Satan Is My Brother, “A Forest Dark”

  1. Steve Dewhurst on August 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    This sounds excellent. Think a purchase may be in order…

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