The industrial hiss that cuts between the beats on the opening track of Alberto Boccardi’s first solo album betrays the fact his past lies in aeronautical engineering. ‘Laying On Before’, a heavy pound wrapped in squalling guitar noise, veritably clunks by before it breaks down into a similarly mechanical rush that sounds as though it’s emerging from the base of a rocket.
It is hard not to wonder whether Boccardi’s past has influenced the sounds he works with in music; the sounds of flight and industry echo throughout this solid album. It forms the propelling force behind ‘Unexpected Places, We Saw’ as well, making it one of the most impressively loud and driven pieces of electronic snarl since ‘Híbakúsja’ from Ben Frost’s By The Throat. Growing up out of a series of chops and whirs, layering infinitely with shards of guitar clatter and clicks, it eventually breaks beneath its own weight and closes out in a peaceful series of beats. ‘You Told Me You Were Lying’ also begins with a hollow drone, like the ear-clogging hum you hear on aeroplanes but grow used to over the course of the flight.
Only ‘Desolate Red Fingers’ and ‘Clocking The Time’ stray from the theme, the first being a brief see-saw chanson backed by twee chimes in the manner of The Korgis’ ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ (or Beck’s cover at least), and the latter a jazz-inflected psycho trudge through deep caverns and slowly warping loops that suddenly take you down with them in a great scream of tortured trumpet.
Boccardi’s album ends up a disparate one but it’s no worse off for it. The interludes break up what could possibly have become an overbearing exercise in dark electronic manipulation and the sometimes thunderous beats move things forward with a refreshing pace and power. Although the album is relatively short, there is plenty to go back in for (especially the towering ‘Unexpected Places…’) and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for which direction Boccardi takes next.