Turin, late 1980s. The factory fumes of Italy’s militant industrial city are slowly giving way to a strange disenchantment. Marco Milanesio and Roberta Ongaro, who first as Novostj and then as DsorDNE were central to the city’s underground throughout the decade, take stock of the Zeitgeist in a collection tracing the arc of their early work. Released on HAX in a handful of handmade copies in 1988, the tape described itself as “post-punk heritage translated into concise electro-songs”, and offers a glimpse into the beginnings of one of the most creative, accomplished and under-heard projects from the time.
Elegant, cerebral, and lavishly emotional, the tracks compiled on Novostj DsorDNE 1983-1988 chronicle the sound of a band in constant tension with itself, in which an expert musicianship comes to blossom alongside a punk sense of politics and a goth sense of dejection. There are textural and rhythmic experimentations (“Voce di Edifici Vuoti”, “Apatia”) and journeys to the shores of noise (“Non Credi Non Credi”), sumptuous classic wave (“Nel Vuoto”) and suspended shards of synth eeriness (“Tristi di Rabbia”, “Al Contrario”, “La Voce”), through to the tragic proto-techno of “Disordine”, the manifesto-track that gave the band its second name. From rattling washes of arpeggiators and underwater screams to fuzzy, moaning basslines and theatrical declamations, a formal assuredness holds the whole thing together – an adult record made by adolescents, crystalline somehow in its unrest.
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