I have to put my cards on the table: I don’t know what to think of Sun and Violence, the second album from Italian duo Heroin in Tahiti. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Researching them online before listening to the actual record, I knew that I would probably like them. When I read that Valerio Mattioli and Francesco De Figueiredo (the brains behind Heroin in Tahiti) use “cheap” guitars, analog synthesizers, samples, drum machines and numerous effects pedal to realize their sound, I got all excited. And when I found a quote in which they describe their sound as “Spaghetti Wasteland” and “an epic journey into the abyss of Mediterranean psyche”, I felt a little tingle. In fact, Sun and Violence is quite possibly the most exhilarating, inspiring and impressive record I’ve heard in a long time – Heroin in Tahiti have created a sound that is both uniquely theirs and yet undeniably influenced by innumerable “weird” predecessors. It’s just that Sun and Violence covers so much ground and blends so many different influences and styles that, by the end of it, I was a little overwhelmed.
You want krautrock beats and autobahn propulsion? You got it. You want moody synthesizer pieces that throb and pulse and recall Goblin, those other masters of Italian weirdness? You got it. You want audio experiments that sample found-sounds, ethnographic field recordings and folk instruments to create something almost hauntological? You got it. You want buzz-guitar dirges that sound like Husker Du or My Bloody Valentine on Special K? You got it. You want strange mash-ups of spaghetti-western soundscapes and out-of-phase calypso tunes? You got it. You want semi-abstract pseudo-instrumentals featuring junkyard percussion, whispered and wordless vocals and tinny, skeletal guitar work that puts Neil Young’s Deadman soundtrack to shame? You got it. You want crazy space-rock jams filled with droning guitars, wah-wah flourishes, drawn-out vocals and tribal drums? You got it. Sometimes any one of these particular styles will dominate an entire song. Sometimes they’re all smashed together. The effect is almost indescribable. Get a copy. Play it loud. Strap yourself in.
(Originally published on Cyclic Defrost, 18/4/2015)