Satelliti: Transister (Cuckundoo Records)
LP / CD / DL
Italian duo Satelliti released their most recent album at the end of last year. It’s taken us a bit longer to get round to reviewing it than it should’ve done, but at least it’s here now.
Warning! Before entering into the world of Satelliti’s Transister one should prepare for the sheer sonic onslaught that you are about to endure. Emotionally, the album is full of ups and downs, sunlight and shadows. It never sits still and while there are moments of great beauty on here, there is also an extremely dark side. The album will seduce you then nick your wallet out of your back pocket.
This is a good thing of course….
Opener Voltage kicks off proceedings with some deep tribal funk before exploding into early Cabaret Voltaire electronics, feedback and fuzz; it’s a perfect way to introduce the listener into the world of Transister. A bitchy brew indeed…
Second track, Canada, introduces a more plaintive and thoughtful feel into the album but as the track progresses a feeling of unease develops. What starts as ambient jazz soon morphs into sleazy funk, beautiful yet terrifying. The aural equivalent of The Shining’s room 237’s woman in the bathtub. Incredible.
Then coming out swinging we have Young Wolf. A colossus of a tune, that leans heavily on drum and bass percussion patterns. More Metalheadz than Man Machine, there is no denying the sheer malevolence on display here. Like Saturnz Return-era Goldie, Wolf needs to be wound up and let loose on an extremely loud system.
What follows next are the only slightly disappointing tracks on the album. Both Brother Green and Espirit de Corps are slightly ambient piano-led tracks and although they do give the listener some time to catch their breath after what has preceeded them, there is a sense that there could be a bit more to chew on. They’re both good tracks but the album’s power and quality would not be diminished by the removal of one of them.
Bright Tunnel then signals the second wave of Transister’s attack. A ten minute (dare I say, epic), behemoth of a track and one that, again, shows you its left hand before hitting you with the right. Coming on like Industrial Hip-Hop (you get the sense that someone like Doom or Madlib would just LOVE to rhyme over this) Tunnel slowly starts to show signs of an Italio-House influence (naturally considering Andrea and Marco are native Italians) building to a naturally hectic conclusion.
Little Princess then brings things back down with a slight mixture of early Mogwai and lounge-jazz (it works!).
The title track then closes the album with some glorious kick-strut. Transister has random bursts of terror noise but it’s the swagger that makes this tune essential. It oozes charm and self belief. It makes you want to be its friend before turning on you in righteous anger. Pure class.
Transister is an album that demands you listen. It’s not here to play nice and to make you feel cozy. It’s an album that will enthrall and scare in equal measure.
Open your mind to it and it shall reward you handsomely.