The mark of minimalist composers Erik Satie, Steve Reich and Terry Riley have all been left on Havergal and can be traced throughout the new album. The strength of the single note (versus the fat meaty chord) is something that Havergal has always embraced. And with unlimited tracking, the cactus needled single notes of Lungs for the Race have blossomed a bit on Elettricita, retaining that fragile sound while finding strength in numbers - an army of individual notes so deep in number that the land they traverse becomes unrecognizable in their wake. The music meanders as the hypnotic rhythms build upon one another and change into slow beach breaks. In the studio, Havergal does not set out to record an event that occurs in a moment in time, but rather to create a sound collage that can only be created in his home studio. The title of the album, Elettricita, is taken from Italian futurist painter Giacomo Balla, whose embracing of artificial light in his work became a symbol of modernity. He was so obsessed with the future that he named his daughter Elettricita (meaning "electricity" in Italian). Havergal's commitment to make a modern music that is beyond his personal abilities - relying on technology to multi-track very simple parts forty times over. Yet the music still retains a very humanistic quality, conveying moods of the most complicated sort. Yes, this highly processed music has a subtle pastoral quality to it that allows it to transcend the glitch pop soup of the day. Movietone, Califone, early Tangerine Dream and Eno's Another Green World are interesting touchstones for one looking for kindred spirits.
And thank goodness for the healthy portions of piano served up on this new record. With the sublime guitar and piano interplay on songs such as album opener "Drowned Men", "The Fallen Hopeless Hope" and "Burn Up the Bay", the bliss-out potential for the listener remains quite high. The tunes have a timeless quality to them, immersed in an ancient static while pulsing with a futuristic beat. And through it all is the voice of a cowboy of the most contemporary sort. Recurring themes on Elettricita include accepting certain things (age, lovelife, insecurities) and about not accepting other things (greed, stagnation, self indulgence, disregard).
It's past sundown. Pull your car over to the highway's shoulder, or take a comfortable seat on your favorite side of the couch. Crack open a pint of your favorite ice cream and immerse yourself in Havergal's Elettricita. Prepare for the passersby to scratch their heads and covet your position as the glow from your car or transom window betrays your place in eternity - if only for a little under an hour.
(SC091 released: 05/04/04)