C.3.3. – Ballad Of Reading Gaol – The Cacophonietta

Cold Spring

This review is a risky move. Every time my writing focus shifts towards a genre I’m not accustomed to deal with, my mailbox inevitably gets bombarded by somewhat akin wannabes proposing piffling attempts to get their name mentioned in spite of the utter cheapness of the works presented.

However, an exception must be granted to this album by C.3.3., which is none other than Paul Jamrozy (of Test Dept. fame; remember the near-unbearable massiveness of some of those records way back in the 80s?). This project, also featuring the mysterious Roz Corrigan, was initiated in 2010. And yet, having lost touch with the output of many artists linked to the industrial and post-industrial movements, your reporter was totally unaware of it.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “Ballad Of Reading Gaol” originates everything you hear. The verses, of course (incidentally, I love that robotically splintered voice appearing a couple of times). And, in particular, the instrumental palette: a coalescence of mighty pulses, dramatic synthetic textures and electronic brutality spiced by more “acoustic” presences plus samples of the very mother, Test Dept. themselves.

By approaching this material with a genuine will to mentally inhabit the unpromising environments suggested by the duo, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The music is sturdy, but not deprived of orchestral revelations. The “vintage” quality of certain timbres is made to be cherished; even someone like yours truly – namely, not a fan of spoken word – finds the whole entirely enjoyable. So will, for obvious reasons, the aficionados.

In a nutshell, a theatrically convincing effort by one of the overlords of iron-fisted oppressiveness. Thumb up to C.3.3. then, and thanks for the memories.

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