Miseri Lares is a hauntingly gorgeous album, the type that would be just perfect for fall ~ yet it’s also perfect for any dark, storm-swept day. When the weather outside matches the sounds inside, the listener feels at one with the world, albeit in this case a psychologically damaged world.
It’s been seven years since we’ve heard solo work from Valerio Tricoli, who first made an impression as part of the band 3/4HadBeenEliminated but blew us away with 2011’s Forma II, his PAN collaboration with Thomas Ankersmit. At 77 minutes over four vinyl sides, Miseri Lares is a generous release; fans will definitely get their money’s worth. More important than the length, the sounds are deep, rich and varied; even after repeated listens, portions of the records remain impenetrable.
Whispers, creaks and gurgles inhabit the grooves, while fire and thunder lurk in the closets behind the grooves. Gasps and pants accompany the spoken word. Tricoli penned some of the dialogue, while other sections hail from Lovecraft, Ecclesiastes and Dante. This is not a hopeful record.
As doors open and close in “La Distanza”, one thinks of doors in the mind guarding elusive thoughts, sublimated memories. An insistent knock is followed by the sound of a gunshot. Self-analysis can be dangerous. The expressed theme is “the irrational horror within”. No ticking clock or leaking pipe can compare with the devastation caused by unhealthy thoughts. In ancient times, demons were blamed; while the modern era has demythologized such theories, the subjective experience remains the same.
Tricoli’s musique concrète melds tape recording to electronic treatment. Drones behave like clouded thoughts, buzzes like pangs of fear. The full project reflects a slow realization, a dawning horror, an “oh my God, what have I done” that may lead to suicide or insanity. Not that Tricoli is supporting such things; he’s simply the messenger. In fact, the very intricacy of the project implies the opposite. Only a focused (and somewhat obsessive) mind could create such an internally dynamic, consistent work. At times, it even seems as if the artist has found glee in scoring misery. Sonically speaking, “In the Eye of the Cyclone” is not a fun track, but it sounds as if it might have been fun to make.
While many sound artists seek to reflect these moods, most fail to capture the subtlety of collapse. Tricoli never goes for the all-out assault. Miseri Lares is an album of suspense, rather than gore. The listener is left shaken, but not stabbed. In an old house, in the midst of a storm, the album still seems to be playing long after it has ended, a sign that it has created its own haunting. (Richard Allen)