Antoni Maiovvi: Shadow of the Bloodstained Kiss

Though Antoni Maiovvi conceptualized his Shadow of the Bloodstained Kiss as a soundtrack to a singular imaginary film—a 1983 Italian Sci-fi “Giallo” (an Italian 20th century crime-and-mystery related genre) starring Barbara Cupisti and Ian McCulloch, to be exact—his tracks, cinematic in the extreme, are more like ten mini-movie soundtracks, with a given song title and/or track character indicating the subject matter or genre in question (e.g., the galaxial iridescence of “Interstellar Space Exploration” vs. the muscle car mania of “Plymouth Fury”). Maiovvi's story, which involves disco singer and murder witness Juliet Hardy and cyber-journalist Jason Scott attempting to unravel a plot involving a sadistic killer and an ancient order, can be cottoned to or ignored depending on one's preference, since the music holds up perfectly well sans programmatic trappings.

And the music? Over-driven analog synthesizers, hyperactive pianos, and organs from ‘70 horror movies merge with primitive drum machine beats in ten raving samplings of Maiovvi's retro-future Italo-disco. The album's chock full of ultra-melodic Italo set-pieces (e.g., “Future Space Love Party,” which burns with the disco-funk fever), while pumping tracks like “Velocity Central” and “SEX6000” blaze with effervescent disco fury. “Nightmoves” gets the ball rolling with an ominous overture that's like the music for the opening credits sequence of a John Carpenter movie, after which “Witchcraft” alternates melancholy piano-based passages with racing disco rhythms. Of particularly epic note is “They Return” in which Maiovvi augments a slamming Italo-disco groove and breakneck synthesizer ostinati with a screeching cry suggestive of attacking winged creatures. At seventy-three minutes, Shadow of the Bloodstained Kiss is almost standard movie length too—two tracks push beyond the ten-minute mark—so no one will grumble that the album's too short.

August 2009