Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vercetti Technicolor's Black September

By Rick Shithouse

Some of the darkest and consistently most chilling soundtrack synth work created in homage to the classic 70s and 80s original work comes from Vercetti Technicolor. This producer and co-founder of Giallo Disco Records is always pushing deeper into the black and crafting intensely disturbing and engaging music.

This long awaited follow up to 2013's Bay Of Blood EP has been teased throughout 2014 and now it has finally been unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience. The premise for Black September is a fantasy soundtrack to the horrific events that occurred during the 1972 Munich Olympics (you can get your history lesson here) and by using these real world events to inspire this soundtrack makes things even more disturbing than the usual horror-inspired fare.

Basing anything on real-events is going to cut too close to home for many, and a question of taste may be brought into question for some. I'd like to think that the Synthetix.FM audience can take the music as art at its face value and not feel the need to question Vercetti Technicolor's motives for creating this any further. There is no glorifying or political agenda here; just a soundtrack to events that have obviously effected the producer deeply.

One's creative muse rarely has a self-censor and Vercetti Technicolor's has definitely been let entirely off the chain for the duration of Black September. The morose, bleakness of the atmosphere combined with the ragged melodies and gritty percussion make for an experience that you'll not soon forget.

Across six original tracks, one extended mix of the incredible title track and two remixes; Black September will crush you into an uncertain future that smacks wholly of Cold War era Eastern Europe. The tracks don't give an inch of tension away, building with complete single-mindedness and crunching down with sonic violence that will make you flinch every time.

The opening theme, 'Operation Munich', is unmistakable in its completely enveloping tension. The melodies sit uncomfortably at opposite ends of the spectrum with broodingly evil deep basslines contrasted by frighteningly harsh bright flourishes. The off kilter nature of this opening track will put you on edge entirely, and it's on that edge you will stay for the duration of the release.

As the second piece begins even darker clouds gather overhead. Synths reverberate with diabolical intent and the percussion is hell bent on violence. 'Ambassadors Of Death' draws you into its dark lair with a hypnotising refrain you can't look away from and then batters you into submission with its raw and jagged final act.

The sheer intensity of the synthscape used by Vercetti Technicolor is hard to take in. A coursing power of unconscionable, strident synths create a world where there is no comfort, solace or hope. 'Olympic Village Hotel 4:30AM' is utterly unforgiving in its delivery. The manner in which Technicolor controls the synthesized violence is daring, uncompromising, and so utterly unapologetic in it's vintage colours and flavours.

There really is tangible feel to this work, an age and a time, it brings to mind elements of Vangelis, Jarre, Oldfield, Tangerine Dream as well as early soundtrack work by Moroder. Vercetti Technicolor knows his canvas and his medium; using his tools to exact every single last drop of frightening terror.  However, there are elements of hope that appear, fleetingly through 'The GSG9 Theme' which offer an unbelievably rare moment of positivity amid the rest of the albums cruelty.

The final track goes back to Hell for the 'Bank Heist Finale' as snapping rim shots are played off against kettle drum fills and a beating heart bass drum with the synths slowly moving into place as the piece evolves. Technicolor's use of humanistic synth choir voices in many of the tracks adds a reverence to the coldly bitter synthscape and on this final piece the voices cry out hauntingly before being finally extinguished.

The last three pieces are all revisions of the opening track, 'Operation Munich', with some interesting takes on it provided by PLAYTONTO and Francesco Clemente but I definitely found the extended mix by Technicolor himself to be the most rewarding and complete vision of the idea.

Black September is hard to listen to, it gives the listener an unsettling and brutal window through which to view events of the past that are still in living memory for many. The honesty and completely grim manner in which the music plays out is never compromised in any of the tracks and via the sounds used and the arrangements implemented one gets a feeling of dread and hopelessness that few other musical excursions can provide.

This is about as dark as vintage synth music can get, and in that respect it may alienate many listeners to retro sounds; however one can not fault the dedication and artistry Vercetti Technicolor has portrayed through the entirety of the album. Giallo Disco Records presents Vercetti Technicolor's Black September album on their Bandcamp here in digital formats and also on vinyl here. This release comes very, very highly recommended from Synthetix.FM and as uncomfortable as the subject matter may be for some, the music itself has a voice that is undeniably spellbinding from beginning to end.

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