It flutters past the like the butterfly it seems to be. Sensing something, it turns on its fragile wingspan and returns to the vibrantly gaudy flower. There, hovering above the anther, hums a large bumblebee going about its business. The butterfly innocently dances around for a moment or two, before suddenly descending on the unsuspecting befurred insect, and, revealing a pair of long impossibly thin and impossibly sharp titanium fangs, sinks said rapiers into the bee, tearing it apart with a joyous glee.
This short film runs on a loop within Mad Jinty McStiff’s House of Horrors, just one attraction to be found in the Fairground of the Seventh Ring, burning incessantly under the banner Inflamed Rides.
You could just leave it there, but if you want the same old lowdown, by all means read on McDuff…
This fine collaboration between two Italians, an American, and an Englishman is brought to our ears courtesy of the wonderful opportunities afforded us by modern communication methods, and is as fine an example of how those tools should be used, and not abused, as you are likely to hear this year.
This project is led by vocalist and composer Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, or LEF as he is known, who has contributed his talents to many projects alongside the likes of Markus Stockhausen, Bill Laswell, Eivind Aarset, and other left-field notables who share a common goal of exploring the possibilities of music in its many and varied forms. Lorenzo has recorded with Pat Mastelotto before, and the Crimsoid rhythmic king also features here. The other part of the rhythm section is the currently very busy Colin Edwin, and perhaps the least known of this combo is guitarist Carmelo Pipitone. Carmelo is the guitarist in “anti-folk” band Marta sui Tubi, who sound like they need investigating.
Inflamed Rides commences stridently with two of the heavier songs on the record. Opening in a moody fashion not dissimilar to what little I have heard from Carmelo’s band, Jellyfish soon veers off into metal-ish territory, led by Colin Edwin’s fabulous rumbling riff. LEF shows he has powerful pipes that bring to mind Mike Patton in his Faith No More guise. Singing, never growling, LEF tells his o-bleak tale of possible suicide and dark soul mining.
The lyrics, most of which were written by LEF continue in deathly abstraction, well served by more rocking beats as Pat, Colin, and Carmelo are locked in unison on Breakdown. After this comparatively conventional dandruff-loosening opening salvo, the album changes tack to become a very atmospheric trip indeed, mixing doom-folk, heavy strangeitude, Gothic math rock, and horror show cinematic suspenseful tuneage with aplomb.
The deeply funky Funfair sets up in your back yard, sounding like The Bad Seeds beamed in from the wrong side of House of Mirrors. This can be taken as the title track, containing as it does the album title within a tale told from the depths of a troubled psyche. “You wanna know how dark can a night become through the magic town of sin, I wanna show” whisper-moans LEF to a mangled alt-blues trapped in a sonic web as atramentous as the subject matter of the lyric. Finally freeing itself, the tune morphs into a Goblin-esque horror soundtrack on the back of a low-mixed chugging riff, before bowing out with a declamatory “Welcome!” Candyfloss never tasted so brackish.
Elsewhere, we have hints of Porcupine Tree’s metal period, Tool, and Funny Games may be what The Blue Nile would have sounded like were they an eclectic prog band. No Need cheekily adapts part of the riff from We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, rips it to pieces up on the O.R.k. shooting gallery, turning it into a dirty lurching fluffy toy from Hell, a prize you wouldn’t want to win. Carmelo’s edgy and near-chaotic Vuoto sounds like an outtake from The Pixies first album by that band’s even more psychotic alter-ego, with the guitarist contributing some neat and feisty work.
Not all is gloom and doom, as melancholic synth trumpet heralds the introspective Dream Of Black Dust, as “…the morning light shows up and clears the path we’re walking down”, and for once the “…idiot waltz is playing so far away”. Of course, it turns out to be merely a reverie as the protagonist walks “hand in hand with a shadow, she’s my only sun, a dream of black dust”, the Black Dust later returning in swirling mists to tug at the heartstrings with its lamentations.
The album closes with The Insignificant, a radical re-working of opener Jellyfish by a chap going by the name Coldlight. Curiously, it starts off sounding like Seal with Adamski, but through a deeply dark filter. It works surprisingly well!
Unlike a visit to the fairground, which always leaves one feeling a combination of queasiness and dissatisfaction as one carries home the already careworn teddy bear that mere minutes before had looked shiny and new, Inflamed Rides is a trip to the dark side that while most assuredly unsettling is also something of a fun ride. Keep looking over your shoulder…
01. Jellyfish (3:54)
02. Breakdown (4:33)
03. Pyre (4:43)
04. Funfair (4:20)
05. Bed Of Stones (5:04)
06. No Need (4:15)
07. Vuoto (3:11)
08. Dream Of Black Dust (5:22)
09. Funny Games (4:30)
10. Black Dust (3:33)
11. The Insignificant (remix by Coldlight) (7:13)
Total time – 50:46
Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari – Vocals, Keys, Electronics
Carmelo Pipitone – Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Colin Edwin – Fretted and Fretless Basses
Pat Mastelotto – Drums
Record Label: Hard World
Year Of Release: 2015