When reviewing records, I make a point of listening first before paying much attention to any promotional information which might be included: safer to avoid the influence of any hype and just use the ears.
The first word which came to mind when listening to Satan Is My Brother was “cinematic”. I was thinking that there was something about this music which in spirit, although not in content, suggested the soundtrack for Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion”. Whilst I’m not implying any similarity between the music made by this Italian quartet and that by Chico Hamilton and Gabor Szabo which featured in the film, there was something intense and claustrophobic about this album… and highly intriguing too.
The press sheet informs me that: “The project is about playing soundtracks to self-made films. It’s about expressing the sense of suffocation and paranoia of living in a city like Milan.”
My impressions of intensity and claustrophobia seem to tie very well with their “suffocation and paranoia”, so the programmatic element of the music clearly makes a connection.
The instrumentation includes trombone, sax, bass, keyboards, electronics and percussion and much of the time, the feel is quite jazzy. The opening is like an awakening, fading in on a keyboard sequence underpinning a rising and falling sound, like electronic breathing which fuses with shortwave interstation sound before the horns emerge gradually.
Sometimes the jazz side of things collides with a mist of drones, which become a pretty dense forest of sound. Spoken word passages are also used to dramatic effect and the suite of three sections subsides to a conclusion where the voice is central to the final scene.
Packaged in an attractive black card gatefold sleeve, this is a most interesting work. 8/10 -- John Cavanagh (15 April, 2009)