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photo by jan kuca

“Árirang was born in Milan as a matter of sound. Maybe an orchestra, maybe just a solo.”

Being well acquainted with fellow Milanese noise merchants, The Gluts and Giöbia, I feel a certain sense of shared DNA with Árirang, if only through guilt by association.

Tenuous as this link may be, having met and trusting the impeccable good taste of The Gluts and Giöbia, Árirang are a more than comfortable fit within my listening palette. A further introduction through Monica at A Giant Leap, has cemented this aural relationship.

I am almost surprised to find, given all that I have heard about the band, that this ‘Geisha’ EP is Árirang’s debut release.

Árirang are Marco Mercuzio P. – vocals, guitar Francesco M. – Bass guitar, Giacomo C. – drums and You. Yes, YOU – because without you, the listener, none of this would be possible…

‘Humming Rigmaroles’, introduces itself with delicate chiming washes, a magical dreamscape excursion, the mid-way crescendo, scaling lush, textured, melancholy peaks, the track climaxing, in a frisson of unrestrained abandon; ‘Mantrabox’, stabs with it’s jagged, staccato intro, before receding into the shadows in soothing, understated repose, resurgent with clawing insistence, this light and shade masterpiece, closes to shuddering, arresting effect; ‘Under The Mount’, opens with tones of wistful whimsy, pervasive dark undercurrents, vie for attention amid bobbing highlights, orchestral flourishes trip in euphoric celebration…

‘Oh Whale’, is a down tempo sonic leviathan, disembodied spectral voices, bludgeoned in submissive introspection, the plaintive vocal melody, a restive, cavernous, ambient lullaby; ‘Rust’, is a twelve and a half minute epic in two parts, ushered in on metronomic wings, an implied corrosive urgency, sinister undertows, despair wracked, cacophonous incursions… Part two, intones a discordant tribal gathering, incongruous tempo filtering, these children of the drum, unleashing droning wave, upon languid wave of restless beating charm…

‘Geisha’ is a broad spectrum elixir. Árirang seamlessly flex their all encompassing gamut of utopian influences, albeit with a unique, abstract, experimental twist. A soulful, otherworldly melding. These artisans of the flower and willow world, allow tantalising glimpses of that alternative reality…

I can sense why my Italian friends talk about Árirang in almost hushed, reverential tones.

As their Facebook page attests, “Two-thirds of the project come from the post-punk trio I AM YOU. Luggage the trio carry is post-rock, electronic, grunge, shoegaze, prog, post-punk, world music and a lot of research. The songs often veer towards the form of film scores, accompanying live installations and images, strobe lights controlled from the stage, confirming the intent of creating a rarefied environment of continuous exchange, between emitter and listener. .”

‘Geisha’ is available as a digital release via bandcamp. My sources tell me there is a vinyl and CD format coming our way soon – I for one will have my name of the list for a vinyl copy.

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