[No] Surrender is a manifest against social injustice that starts with a visual prelude. This is what dignity looks like. The cover is a portrait of Madame Rochat by artist Aline d’Auria. Madame Rochat worked as a concierge in a building for 40 years. The day she retired, the building´s owners asked her to move from the concierge´s flat. Her response: keep fighting for the rights of the working class.
When society treats its citizens like disposable individuals, unity is a healthy response. In [No] Surrender, Simon Grab and Francesco Giudici search for unity through improvisation. Simon Grab uses a no-input mixer setup, which can be unpredictable and explosive. Grab demonstrates expert control, transforming electric feedback into a rich palette of sounds, including delicate tones and cascades of sustained drones. For his part, Francesco Giudici plays the guitar with true stylistic freedom. He can be playing ghost-like blues like Loren Connors and then move to post-rock passages and droning that resemble late Tarentel.
[No] Surrender creates spaces for reflection, fear, rage, and hope. In the opening “I leave”, the flow of electricity dances with slow chords, creating expectation. “Forest Spirit” starts calmly, with the sound of electronic insects. As air raid sirens sound and the guitar becomes louder, the track evolves. In “Sirens”, the guitar itself sounds like an alarm, loud and repetitive, blazing over subtle rhythms of pulses and drones. When the tension eases, a series of melodic chords are the only sounds that remain.
“Wolves” is the most extended piece, and where sonic the togetherness feels strongest. After minutes of drawing landscapes with textures, Grab and Giudici turn up the distortion, building waves of blasting noise. As the no-input mixer and the guitar become meshed, it becomes impossible to determine where the sounds originate. This is musical intimacy. Towards the end of the track, the sounds start to separate, complementing each other. “Aftermath” closes the album with low-volume feedback and silence.
The experience of listening to [No] Surrender illustrates the power of collective action. We can stop the ongoing disasters of our society if we act together. And to do that, we need music that makes us share a sense of urgency. This is precisely what [No] Surrender offers. (Tono Disonante)