Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Junkie Flamingos - Lemegeton Party

Artist: The Junkie Flamingos
Label: Helen Scarsdale
Catalogue no: HMS051

     1.      Evening of our Days
     2.      Goetia
     3.      The Language of Slaves
     4.      Restless Youth
     5.      Shape of Men

The Italian Junkie Flamingos project was conceived in 2017, bringing together Luca Sigurtà, Daniele Delogu, and Alice Kundalini. The latter name may be familiar to some: Alice is better known as the death industrial project She Spreads Sorrow, while Sigurtà is a composer of some renown himself, and Delogu is a member of the Barbarian Pipe Band (described as bombastic folk!). One can only imagine what kind of musical DNA is produced when such a diverse trio of musicians decide to work together, and also when the album title alludes to the Lesser Key of Solomon grimoire.

So what manner of sonic sorceries have been conjured up on here, the project’s first album? Alice’s influence is immediately apparent on ‘Evening of our Days’, grainy distortions and feedback whines, breathy vocals against a wind blowing down a hollow tunnel, with flavours of a twisting, echoing guitar figure, and a submerged rhythm bubbling just beneath the surface being contributed by Delogu and Sigurtà respectively. And this is just the gateway to a haunted suburban landscape of death industrial aesthetics, mixed with ambient stylings, electronics, acoustic instruments, vocals, and even pared back rhythms.

The five compositions here are from the wrong side of the tracks, dusky, dirty, dark, and dreamlike. These are the edgelands, the margins where polite society fears to tread, where alleyways are filled not with rats but with spectres and ghosts, the tumbling litter and debris of loves lost and those that were never meant to be. Streetlights, dim, flickering, and endlessly on the brink of failing, shine on huddled figures bracing themselves against cold winds funnelling down empty lanes, where photographs and posters of broken romances flutter hither and thither, and the chink of empty bottles rattle against hard ground. Here are the speakeasies where no one knows your name and don’t want to know it in the first, the drinking joint where all eyes turn to you upon first entry but look away when they realise you’re just like them. Death, loss, hopelessness, faithlessness, ennui, and apathy are the residents in this part of town. But, as they say, misery loves company, and here’s where you’ll find the despairing and desperate.

The beauty of this is how all the musicians have blended together so well: it would have been so easy for one element to dominate to the exclusion of everything else. Not here though: a misty, foggy, backstreet atmosphere pervades the entire album, each contributor shaping textures and manipulating atmospherics in a way that few can do with such confidence. It’s both about three very individual artists, each with a very individual vision, throwing their creativity into the melting pot and, with the finely-tuned palette of a master chef, added just the right ingredients to produce a magical brew that not only creates something new, but also underscores the contribution of each. It’s a true collaborative effort, and deserves a close listen. Stand on a lonely street corner late at night under a dimly-lit streetlight, spark up a cigarette, don the earphones, and savour the atmosphere, physically and musically.

Psymon Marshall 2019.

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