Potter Natalizia Zen – Magari [ELP054]

POTTER NATALIZIA ZEN - Magari

Master synthesists Colin Potter (NWW), Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) and Guido Zen reprise their supergroup for Ecstatic with a seductively serpentine follow-up to their superb debut from a couple of years ago. PNZ’s pulsing, twanging, expansive ‘Magari’ was recorded between 2018-2020 in the slipstream of ’Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’, which is surely one of the strongest new kosmiche-related albums of recent years. Where that album refreshed classic styles of European synth music for modern ears, ‘Magari’ – meaning “I Wish” in Italian – adapts their style to the unique Afro-Latin lilt of Brazilian music with central use of the Berimbau; a single-stringed percussion instrument commonly associated with the elegant martial art/dance of Capoeira, which the band’s Guido Zen brought home from his travels in South America. Combined with their juicy, almost fleshly arps and Guitar pedal-generated computer voice, the results are wonderfully wide-eyed, embracing bouts of motorik rhythm beside vertiginous noise wormholes and mystic tone poems that speak to a cumulative experience spanning decades spent hunting for life between the wires.
Like their first LP, much of the recording took place remotely or in pairs, and rarely with all three present, before the parts were mixed down at Colin’s studio in Leytonstone. In its journey between the intricate meters and perpendicular vectors of ‘Too Much Traffic’, and their mesh of curdled tones with their phone recordings of a manic preacher in Camberwell on ‘Saved’, they variously recall Craig Leon’s alien invocations of Dogon folk tales as much as the heady dissonance of Alessandro Cortini; producing outstanding pieces of tangibly haptic substance in ‘Sergio’ and infectiously tip-of-tongue Berimbau twang on ‘Gennaio’, and for good measure, something like Phil Collins gently losing the plot after healthy dose of Ayahuasca in ‘Fill’, while ‘Ancora’ sounds like Basic Channel scoring Herzog’s Aguirre.

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Potter Natalizia Zen – Magari [ELP054]

VA – Prophecy & Progress: UK Electronics 1978-1990 [PM24]

Peripheral Minimal presents ‘Prophecy + Progress: UK Electronics 1978 – 1990 LP’, a thirteen-track compilation that represents the burgeoning Electronic music scene in the UK. This isn’t simply another synth pop compilation, or some nostalgic frippery, but an eclectic mix of acts that were experimenting with newly available technology at a time when the punk scene had imploded and the music press was busy coining new genres as an attempt to continue its legacy. In the bubbling underground were a myriad of experimenters recording in relative secrecy in Industrial cities like Sheffield or post-war London, at a time when the Tories came back into power and utterly altered the political landscape, and produced a generation of, ‘Thatcher’s Children’ (selfish, arrogant and materialistic). The antidote seemed to be quiet rebellion in the shape of dark and alienating soundscapes by acts that are now considered ‘pioneers’, or achieving cult status, in a new era of throwaway pop and trite ‘new wave’ impersonators. This compilation is an attempt to rekindle those heady days of experimentation and to encourage new generations to rebel and forgo the fashionable posturing that comes with anything vaguely ‘interesting’.

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VA – Prophecy & Progress: UK Electronics 1978-1990 [PM24]

Colin Potter – The Where House [DE214]

Colin Potter is a sound engineer and musician currently based in London. He has worked within the fields of electronic and experimental music for over 35 years. He started the esteemed ICR (Integrated Circuit Recordings) label in 1981 releasing a clutch of wonderful home recordings of his own, over half a dozen small run cassette only releases. ‘The Where House?’ was recorded in 1981 at IC Studio, a converted wash house in Sutton on the Forest in North Yorkshire. The album was self-released on cassette that same year via ICR. This expanded double LP edition features all 13 tracks from the original tape on vinyl for the first time plus 4 bonus tracks. ‘The Where House?’ is a prime example of early UK post-punk/industrial electronic music.

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Colin Potter – The Where House [DE214]

Potter Natalizia Zen – Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out [E034]

Colin Potter, Alessio Natalizia and Guido Zen regroup along the percussive vectors of ‘Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’ for the Ecstatic label. Three years in the making, taking cues from German synth rock, cosmic disco, abstract EBM and obscure library sounds, the trio head for seductive new horizons of pulsing rhythms and floating ambient dub tones. The six hands control the mission with masterful skill and sleight of hand, prompting routes for the user rather than signposting the way with cliché. Of course, it’s hard to escape some sense of homage or reverence for the original forms, but they do so with such sensitivity to the material and “the journey” that the results simply transcends that heritage, to arrive somewhere, timelessly, out there.

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Potter Natalizia Zen – Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out [E034]