My Dry Wet Mess: Irrational Alphabet
Magical Properties

One listen to Irrational Alphabet, Giovanni Civitenga's debut album under the My Dry Wet Mess name, and it's obvious why Alfred “Daedelus” Darlington promptly snapped him up for the second release on his Magical Properties imprint. Put simply, there are clear affinities between Daedelus's own music and the wonky mash-up of glitch-hop beats, day-glo synth melodies, and controlled mayhem that Irrational Alphabet dishes out in its eleven head-spinners. Their association, in fact, began when Civitenga, studying Interactive Design in Barcelona and preparing for a 2009 collaboration with Daedelus on an audio-visual piece, demonstrated his software using his own music for reference and immediately caught his elder's ear. Though Civitenga has spent his life in Rome and Barcelona, his music oozes a vibe that's equal parts West Coast LA and London, England.

The thirty-eight-minute disc's filled with funky body-movers and head-nodders topped with captivating synth melodies (hear the sugar rushes “Etcetera” and “Dysfunctional Behaviours” as two such examples) and sprinkled with well-placed voice samples. Buoyed by its stutter-funk pulse, “Something That Needs Nothing” blends cozily into the post-Dilla beatsmithing landscape, while Civitenga shows that he can dial down My Dry Wet Mess when the mood hits, which he does at album's end when the dreamy, slow-jam bliss-outs “Disappointing Patterns,” “Yours Truly,” and “The Sleeping Beauty” all appear one after the other. Irrational Alphabet isn't Civitenga's first release either, as he issued material on Nexsound in 2008 under the Bluermutt name, and Civitenga comes from good stock, too: his father plays bass in Ennio Morricone's orchestra and has played guitar on a number of Italian records.

November 2010