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CEMENT SHOES

«Opus Caementicium»
GAFFER RECORDS, GR072

The Mafioso expression cement shoes describes a method of execution or body disposal – wrapping the victim or body in concrete and pushing into deep water. This expression has become a tongue-in-cheek death threat by criminals, despite no real evidence of using this method of execution. Now this American expression also graces the name of a new pan-European trio, featuring Italian, Brussels-based Fender Rhodes and electronics player Giovanni di Domenico, Portuguese, Rotterdam-based electric bass player Gonçalo Almeida and Hungarian, Budapest-based drummer Balázs Pándi.

These three musicians are known for crisscrossing their paths in the heaviest and noisiest fringes of free jazz, drone and metal, or as they call it: goulash made out of fish landing on a pizza. And all three have played with some heavyweight musicians. Di Domenico with Akira Sakata, Jim O’Rourke and Chris Corsano. Pándi with Zu, Merzbow, Keiji Haino, Mats Gustafsson and Thurston Moore; Almeida plays in the groups Albatre, LAMA trio, The Selva and Spinifex. This trio offers a somewhat sonic equivalent of the experience of wearing cement shoes – nervous, muddy and disturbing soundscapes. You may assume that even well-versed scholars of the Mafia legacy would not have anticipated such cinematic, horrific walls of sounds portraying the aforementioned gruesome expression.

The Fender Rhodes of di Domenico, augmented with electronics, sets the vivid, threatening atmosphere of «Opus Caementicium». This vintage instrument sounds as if soaked in dense and psychedelic, resonating sludge. The massive, ritualistic drumming of Pándi gravitates the music into deeper and darker waters and the tough, effects-laden bass playing of Almeida emphasizes the restless, merciless attack of this trio. Each of the six pieces adds more noisy nuances and subtle dynamics to the tensed interplay of Cement Shoes. Only «Opus Latericium» and the last «Opus Vittatum» relieve for a short while the hopeless burden of wearing heavy sonic shoes, but, eventually, both add to the disquieting, powerful effect of «Opus Caementicium».

Another apt and honest soundtrack for our times, when all over the globe criminal psychopaths rise to power.

Eyal Hareuveni

Giovanni di Domenico (rhodes, elec), Gonçalo Almeida (b), Balázs Pándi (dr)