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Public Domain Resource – Six Years | Review by Vox Empirea

Through the second album titled “Six Years”, the Bergamo Public Domain Resource have made a subsequent, fundamental progress in stylistic advancing and, then, in the definitive consolidation of their fame. The project was distinguished already during 2013 – the year in which it officially originated the discographic career of this talented power duo – as one of the most innovative and promising realities extrapolated from the big Italian-electronic alternative scene of that epoch, proposing the excellent “Dead Surface”, their debut-album promoted by the Neapolitan company Space Race Records – the label co-associated to EK Product – in which review, published on the Vox Empirea’s webpages of the same in 2013, it’s available a detailed description regarding the artistic evolution of the two protagonists. Ugo Crescini (vox) and Pietro Oliveri (vox / synths / programming) reconfirmed themselves again in this 2015 as skilled manipulators of synthetic sound, manifesting, in addition with a concrete technical preparation and an inspiration beyond the limits of formal musicality, an important, meaningful wordwriting, with texts full of messages on which to meditate: they tell of dramatic episodes experienced in the horror of the Great Conflict occurred between 1939 and 1945, to which its seventy million victims and to their suffering is entirely devoted the album. The Second World War is then the stage in which Public Domain Resource have set the new full-length: fourteen songs, fourteen different stories, having as direct interpreters soldiers and civilians, allies and antagonists, all factions without exception involved in the crazy game of battle and, aware or not of this, joined all together by an unbreakable bond, a common aspect translatable in only authentic element that unifies this impressive number of fallen, the ‘Death’, the same one that obliges necessarily us, their subsequent offspring, as at the maximum respect to each of those names, men and women, old people and children, innocents and guilty, known or unknown, all this independently from their individual roles undertaken in the tragic War context, from their respective nationalities, from their ideological apperances and from the mere opinions of ‘right or wrong’. The release, published in digipak again by Space Race Records, features both its production and its mastering at the Retrogramme Studios by Rob Early, front-man / synthesist / programmer, with Nikk Allen and Dmitry Pavlovsky, of the electro / synthpop / darkwave / IDM Washington DC based band called Retrogramme. The sounds applied in all tracks of “Six Years” incorporate multiple electronic orientations, whose main matrix replicates invariably a rational-melodic synthpop with danceable EBM scores for dancefloors, built systematically using large contributions of drum-machines, sequencing and futuristic vocals, entering at the same time ‘modern electro’ syntactics and, occasionally, IDM details, while the singing phases, transfigured by vocoder, they spread alienating modulations, often exhibited with morbidity and coldness, perfectly adapted to the dark tension that characterizes the lyrics. “White Cloud”, first song, reports the sudden Hamburg bombing made by allied air forces, during which more than fifty thousand people perished, all this observed by the terrified eyes of a father who fatally led his son to the park in the same time of raid: the electro / synthpopish strategies that support the text are created through regular midtempo drum-programming scans, through hypnotic, liquid sequencers, keyboard sourness and through a concatenation of vocals hoarsely processed. Pulse sonar noise announce the following “Das Boot”, or the tragic story of a German submariner who’s sinking below in the sea abyss: the musics are electro / EBM consonances in which the chant is robotically propagated among danceable midtempo drum-programming rhythms, corrosive black & white keyboard waves and synthetic manipulations. The orchestral classicism enjoyable in the first segment of “Cold Lightning” is interrupted by a sinister explosion: this is the track’s screenplay, combined with electro / EBM developments, composed by opaque, evocative synth harmonies, together with essential midtempo drum-programming bpm’s and tormented vocals, which verses describe exhaustively the trauma generated within a London citizen who went to the theater at the same moments immediately following the unexpected, devastating explosion by a V2 bomb dropped on his city. “Sad, So Sad – Tibbets’ War” is the introspective, contradictory self-analysis lived abstractly by Paul Tibbets, pilot and colonel of the famous American bomber Enola Gay, all initially in the attempt to legitimize, persuading himself, the validity of his intents, the impregnable positivity of the highest order received, the “right cause” and the military reasons for which he precipitated the Hiroshima’s atomic super-bomb, all beliefs, however ephemeral, changed over time in bitter doubt, in repentance, in inner dilemma, in an enormous moral accusation for which he ask indirectly and symbolically the pardon to his own son: the electro / synthpop sound planned by the duo-act in this song is mechanically supported by circular midtempo drum-programming propulsions and by synth glares, which linear melodies, functionally distributed into the scheme, they embellish the desolate atmospheres of singing. Organically more energetic, the next “Kill Rolf, Kill!!” evokes the existential thoughts, the fears, the denied youth of a fourteen boy enlisted as soldier in the Hitlerjugend: the dark-electro / EBM formula of the track assembles keyboard intensity, filtered vocal with tones at the limit of despair and midtempo percussiveness, as well as the next “Laconia” shows the last life moments of one of the eighteen hundred Italian POWs boarded on the homonymous English armed-merchant RMS Laconia, torpedoed and sunk in 1942 near the African Coasts by a German U-156 submarine; in the disaster they died many crew members, but especially many of inmates incarcerated into the ship’s hold, to whom it was forcibly private the access to salvation by English soldiers, an event that, for its unique, dynamic and frightening gravity, it deserves an appropriate commemoration, as this shadowy electro / synthpop song in which the voice compartments, substantially less altered by vocoder, they transmit a squared and tonally elegant chant, conjunct to the glacial frequencies of synth and to the disciplined midtempo beats of drumming. “Warm Frost” exposes the unspoken secret of an American soldier who, returned home after the War, he will never reveal to his mother – she later died and unaware of what his son has committed – all the unspeakable cruelty inflicted on enemies, the tortures perpetrated with rancor against his opponents, all only in the name of the alleged sacredness of the motivations for which he fought: the rhythmical-vocal planning of this electro / synthpop execution it differs from the previous rectilinear songs, being it now minimally composed by dashed, aqueous sequenced fluctuations and by circular drum-programming fragmentations, in a continuous, uninterrupted flow of vocals electronically modified. Proceeding in the tracklist, you can hear the melancholic arias of “The Sergeant And The Snow”, a track inspired by two great literary autobiographies, the same “Il Sergente Nella Neve” written in 1953 by Mario Rigoni Stern and “Centomila Gavette Di Ghiaccio”, written between 1945 and 1946 by Giulio Badeschi: the electro / synthpop sonorities arranged in the track are cloaked by atmospheric keyboard’s touches, fractionated by cold rhythmic midtempo automatism and by a tonally embittered chant, in which they are perceptible the frustrations, the deprivation, the daily immobility and the immense difficulties of the Italian military prisoners of the German troops during the Retreat Of Russia. “Our Widows” is the terrible oath of revenge said by a died Russian soldier against one German, an anathema filled with unspeakable resentment, dictated from the afterlife with ruthlessness, by which the soul of the Russian deceased promises the death to the enemy for having killed his wife: the lyrics speak of relentless retaliatory, impersonating the grudge felt by the damned entity through resolutely harsh vocals, intercalated with danceable electro / EBM procedures in which the hard midtempo drum-programming it amalgamates with acid and grainy partitions of synth. The lyrics of the next “My Control” they illustrate in turn the farewell hymn dedicated to a woman by an American soldier, all just before the battle of Iwo Jima, the Japanese Pacific island where he died under the fire of the Japanese Imperial Army: vigorous uptempo drum-beats, pulsing bass-lines, staid vocal incitements and functional vaporizations of synth are the architectures of this electro / EBM song, the which extension titled “The Rift”, focused on the same sound style, it incorporates symmetrical uptempo units, roughly androids vocals and keyboard luminescences. “Irish Soldier” declaims instead the military sense of sacrifice, the soul searching for the necessary courage and for the unwavering faith in a “right War” of an Irish recruits from the British Armed Forces before fighting against the Italian enemy: the sonic constructions of the track are electro / synthpop counterpoints based on metronomic midtempo drum-programming replications, a depressed chant with spoken-words interludes and corrosive keyboard segments. “The Breath – Kyoshi’s Return To Hiroshima” sums through short but symptomatic strophes, the impressions of surprise and confusion experienced by a Japanese soldier finding, at his return home at the end of the War, the absolute, terrible destruction on his city caused by “Little Boy”, the atomic Mk.1 bomb: the electro / EBM geometries of this track take place during the intro by a robotic vocal filament dictated in Japanese language, followed by algid, descriptive, monolithic forms of singing, from which they leak out vague afflicted accents, all supported by regular midtempo fragmentations and by atmospheric synth profusions. The last chapter of the tracklist, “Bombs Instead Of Songs”, speaks simultaneously about the warlike thoughts, the dogmas of glory and victory and about the handsome images of Mrs. Hayworth, projected in the imagination of an American pilot while he’s flying his plane to the city to be bombed, Tokyo: this electro / synthpop / EBM song is innervated by danceable, dynamic midtempo rotations of drum-programming, by electronically altered voice and by abrasive punctuations of synth. Concept album of great resonance, it’s not an attempt of revisionism, but an effective, perpetual warning to the masses. The consistency of lyrics, for their “inconvenient transversality” and their determined opposition both towards the themes analyzed and the ordinary, conventional, questionable interpretation of ‘War History’ passed down the generations until today, it requires a conscious listening that transcends from the unilateral concept of musicality and electro-trends, concentrating intensely the attention on texts and, in particular, on the significance of each single event there mentioned, all in memory of a deceived, blinded, hostile, afraid Humanity, thrown against its will into a nightmare and into the fight, an Humanity deeply, hopelessly divided in his own ideals, and yet, paradoxically joined in one, real epilogue. The instrumental harmonization provided by Public Domain Resource in supporting to connotations of such exceptional clamor and social actuality, is an hyper-technological design uniformly encoded by balanced, linear, scientific melodies, devoid of emotional manifestations or ‘easy’ sound metrics, with obsessive vocals, never taken to extremes and artificially transformed by circuits, until obtaining a mixture of metallic-toned narrations. “Six Years” is an album structurally progressed, fertile in contents, determined in intents: it’s at the same time form, intelligence and matter of the new Italian electronic front. You must have it. Categorically.

Vox Empirea