Electronic acts and those oriented towards film score compositions have become a lot more prominent in recent years, particularly among metal audiences. With a new generation of composers and producers creating their own Goblin type bodies of work and acts like Perturbator and GosT tying in to metal and cyberpunk aesthetics, there is a lot of talent for the metalhead looking to branch out. One of the latest entities to join this growing genre is ± Arcimago ±, originally based out of Rome but now residing in the UK. Little is known about the project aside from the fact that this is the work of composer Ugo Negroni and is inspired by classic Italian giallo film scores. The project’s debut ‘Uccisora’ is officially out today, and we’re excited to present you with a full stream of the album.
I’m a fan of projects that choose to keep things under a veil of mystery and disguise, particularly when the emphasis is meant to be on ambient soundscapes and film score style arrangements. As plenty of artists have said before, this allows the focus to be entirely on the music itself and not have the background of the composer become a distraction. ‘Uccisora’ is laid out in a format to that of a film score, as there are moments of rising and falling tension and each song flows into the next in a cohesive manner. Goblin and John Carpenter certainly come to mind as you make your way through the album, and yet it doesn’t feel as though ± Arcimago ± is merely treading the same territory. I could potentially see people coming up with a fairly wide range of narratives as they listen, but for me the songs conjured up imagery that was somewhere between the older horror/supernatural films and something a little more sci-fi. Particularly on some of the two Sogno d’Amore interludes, the sparse synthesizer work that fills the recording gives off a mysterious, alien feel that perfectly intertwines with the more dread inducing instrumentation of some of the other arrangements.
What particularly works in the favor of ‘Uccisora’ is the way that it moves between faster pieces with a driving beat and sparser ones that let the moodier electronics expand in a slightly less linear fashion. Where some of the other electronic acts of this type have gone full throttle for an entire album, emphasizing danceable beats, ± Arcimago ± strikes a perfect balance between these driving action centric pieces and exploratory ones. In this sense it does put the material much closer to a traditional film score than most, and after multiple times through you can start to feel all of the pieces fall into place, no matter what narrative you’ve conjured up for this music. It’s a consistently strong listen from beginning to end, though I do find myself sometimes gravitating towards songs like Colpa and the two Malocchio as the synthesizer melodies reach that peak level of intrigue and mystery on these particular tracks.
Electronic music of this nature that’s meant to serve as the score for a film that may or may not exist can be hard to pull off right, as you have to maintain a natural rise and fall in tension and deliver a cohesive narrative. But ‘Uccisora’ has accomplished that, channeling Goblin’s creepiness and some of John Carpenter’s driving beats and repetition without feeling like it’s directly copying either. There are a lot of these projects and bands out there vying for your attention, particularly when it comes to the whole retro/synthwave movements, so this turn towards a more horror/supernatural influenced direction comes as a nice change. It should be interesting to see where ± Arcimago ± goes next and if it transforms into something completely different by the next full length, as it would certainly be capable of doing so.