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Review of Mechanical Uprising by Tokafi

Published:
Marco Oppedisano "Proving their humanity: Five electroacoustic composers deserving your attention."

Marco Oppedisano
Marco Oppedisano
Marco Oppedisano
b.1971
guitar, electric
: Wilfully unaccommodating & hauntingly inten-reber-base While the guitar is just a tool among many on Music for Film and Electro-Theatre, it is at the very heart of the oeuvre of Marco Oppedisano. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, he has made the search for the intersections between heavy Rock, atmospheric soundscapes and an intricate, intellectually challenging take on contemporary composition his goal. While it has become somewhat fashionable of lately to segue one's influences as an artist into a seamless new entity, Oppedisano openly bares the starkly contrasting nature of his inspirations for the world to see: Brutal and bewilderingly complex riffs, revealing a strong affinity for Metal, collide with jazzy episodes; classically-inflected passages are brutally mutilated by acerbic electronics; and a host of in-your-face guitar-licks integrate into densely layered sonic architectures filled to the brim with quotes and references—creative sculptures displaying the composer's belief in the “freedom to choose anything." At the same time, the focus and personal voice of his work are second to none, testimony to the absolute will to defy comparison and categorisation.

Mechanical Uprising is Oppedisano's third full-length as a solo artist and it continues his declared mission of “using dynamics, color and texture with sound and in combination with standard pitch-related material," as he put it in an interview with us in 2007. What this means, simply speaking, is that these terms have become interchangeable and that the music finds itself in a constant flux between the poles of “noise" and “composition." Opening tracks “Kickstart" and “Solitary Pathways" are daring experiments at documenting this philosophy, ripping along a Moebius-strip encompassing anything from cosmic Ambient to ecstatic Rock, while the title track condenses the same associations into a dark, fearful continuum. In a seeming contradiction, the intuitive tension arch of these works, meanwhile, is counterpointed by two suites making use of notably more classical forms: “Seven Pieces," a collection of miniatures of just over a minute's length, each depicting a different “musical character," in which Oppedisano's technical virtuosity and natural talent at internalising a variety of genres shows through. And “Clockwatcher," consisting of three movements connected by the stylised Leitmotif of a ticking clock, whose perpetually transforming rhythmical pulses directly inspire the thematic and harmonic material and warp the audience's sense of time.

It is easy to see why many would find this fantastical concoction almost entirely without precedent confusing. Oppedisano could effortlessly turn into an underground cult phenomenon by leaning more demonstratively towards one of the many different scenes he is alluding to, but his approach suggests an incredible yearning for integrity and an unquenchable curiosity for where following down his ideas will lead him. Perhaps it is helpful to remember that this man once played as a guest on an album by Noah Creshevsky, another unique outsider, whose theory of “hyper-realism" may well have informed a few of Oppedisano's own concepts: By placing outwardly familiar elements into combinations unattainable in physical reality, Mechanical Uprising creates a zone which feels both reassuringly safe and discomfitingly alien. Cliches are exaggerated rather than outright discarded, leading to themes and melodic inventions no human being would be capable of reproducing in a live environment.

The super-human, the robotic, the surreal and, yes, the “mechanical" are aesthetic guidelines to Marco Oppedisano's galaxy and for those unafraid of seeing the world through a distorted mirror, they make for some of the most wilfully unaccommodating and hauntingly intense music out there at the moment.


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