• Not Waving and Diagonal: early contender for merger of the year
• New Beta supremo delivers fizzy collection of computer acid
• Art by Diagonal whizz Guy Featherstone, Mastered and Cut by Matt Colton
Diagonal kick off 2016 with a hotly anticipated album by Alessio Natalizia’s Not Waving project. It follows his probationary 12” Get Serious and can be seen as a first quarter report on the fluctuations in London’s computer acid and wave-pop sectors.
Under lax time constraints, the London-based Italian artist has authored Not Waving’s most versatile LP to date — an unruly yet emotive bender taking in ‘floor-mauling New Beta and endearingly beery post-industrial synth music.
Animals harnesses the wanderlust of Natalizia’s spate of self-released albums and records for Ecstatic and Emotional Response but dials up the wildness, spitting out a careering sequence of tracks that feel as warped, deep-raved and giddy as a night out in the city they were forged. These are tunes — no, songs — for post- work smash-ups, weekenders and sore commutes. And make no mistake, although Animals occasionally bites hard at the business end of the ‘floor, this is Diagonal’s most POP record yet, with Natalizia’s songwriting sensibility conjuring moments of tenderness and beauty to offset the manic strobe lighting and droppin’ sweat.
Album opener Believe is one such moment, a twisting synth workout that bounces along over rock-ist live toms. The tie is loosened on Head Body, as Not Waving unleashes a raging kosmic EBM showpiece that morphs across 6 sprawling minutes. Next up is 24 — the album ‘hit’ that’s been delighting [or destroying] dancefloors across Europe for almost a year now; here the trews are off and all — and you can see Front 242 and Ancient Methods tattooed across the artist’s butt.
The shunting Gutsy and whopping industrial stress-test Work Talk buckle down like mutant Powell cuts, whereas I Know I Know I Know and the thrashing EBM-pop of Face Attack run The Sound of Belgium through a distinctly Diagonal filter — all smart edits and unruly arrangements.
Animals’ great strength, though, lies in how Natalizia marries the clammy peaks of contemporary club music with oddly emotive runs into acidic Canterbury pop, as on Tomorrow We Will Kill You, and cyborg despair — see Punch — before things reach a fittingly bittersweet conclusion with They Cannot Be Replaced. In short, this is Not Waving committing some of his most sophisticated songwriting to wax, and finding an entirely appropriate home for his own distinctive sound.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Animals is Diagonal’s 6th artist album, beside LPs by Russell Haswell, The Skull Defekts, $hit & $hine
2. Head Body
4. Tomorrow We Will Kill You
5. I Know I Know I Know
8. Face Attack
9. Presenza Immobile
10. Work Talk
11. They Cannot Be Replaced