Australasia – notturno

There's a certain power in experience, in all of those things one encounters throughout life, inevitably leading on a path to becoming an amateur, then perhaps expert.  Between the amateur and the expert is a land of ruin, it's far better to think you know what you're talking about than to almost know.  You, of course, know we don't merely think we know what we're talking about, we are at the pinnacle of the spectrum, a path that takes years to reach, and even then never really ends.  Experience is powerful, and there are several types, including knowledge of not simply a genre, but a band, down to its roots, down to its essence.  When you know a band to that extent, when you've heard what they've done and you know how they got there, this level of experience carries the burden of honesty, which must sometimes be dealt regardless of how good they are as human beings.  Australasia, as much as we love him, must be dealt the ace of spades today.  This introduction sounds much more harsh than it will end in reality, but regardless, upon finally opening the glory of notturno, we were most disappointed, and that part of our experienced brain saying "no, just be nice to the guy" had to be smothered under its pillow.

  

Don't think we know Australasia?  Think we're just pretending like we've heard his work before?  You'd be wrong.  In fact, one of our most beloved promos we received in the first year the new site launched was his wonderful dip into post-black metal shoegaze, Sin4tr4.  So yeah, we reviewed that.  Shortly thereafter he sent us his next full-length, Veterbra, which included a few of the songs from Sin4tr4, and yes, we reviewed that too.  If you check out those reviews, and we suggest you do, briefly, you'll notice we kind of like the guy.  In fact, we liked him so damn much we interviewed him, so there's that too.  At the time he had only briefly mentioned work on a new album, but when we eventually heard the dream, notturno, became a reality, we wanted it to be part of ours.  Since we chatted a few times with Gian, he was kind enough to send a real copy our way, which was awesome because the promos were primarily digital this time around.  So there it was in the mail, that beautiful art, the dreamy, dreariness of his former work coming into our heads, the wonderful moon on the disc itself, the solemn darkness that good shoegaze dost make.  Then we gave it a spin...

 

notturno, to begin, was entirely disappointing at first listen.  Australasia's song-writing is there, somewhere, but there was something undefined, something wrong.  So we listened again, and again, and again, and you should probably cube that listening experience using the formula U = l³ (uncertainty = listen cubed).  We found the same dreaminess he presented in the past, this time revolving around thoughts of sitting on a rotting porch in the American South, watching moths fluttering around a dying kerosene lamp.  But in spite of the beautiful imagery, or at least as we envisioned it to be, the sound was inadequate, it wasn't fully presenting what we expected, in fact we went back and listened to his earlier work for grounding.  Perhaps we remembered wrong, perhaps this is simply his natural progression to the next level of shoegaze?  Entirely incorrect.  notturno is easily summarized in a single word, uninspired.  The fluid dynamic of his earlier work is gone, the chording grows stale throughout the tracks as they progress, and staler with each future listen until you're pretty sure you've heard it all before.  Other than track five, "Invisible", which features some awesome vocal sections, almost all of notturno is uneventful, completely unlike his earlier work.  Thus, one can see quite readily how powerful, and potentially dangerous, experience can be.  We were expecting great things with Australasia's latest, but instead discovered it sounds kind of like what we'd expect out of a demo or a first full-length.  Brief moments of electronics and piano provide little to accentuate the sparsity created by the guitar work, which absolutely needed to happen to draw this one together.  The vocals, in fact, reveal how bare the majority of the song writing is because track five is the only memorable segment on the entire album.  The production is high, but being that we're so versed in what Australasia has done, notturno will, to us, be forgotten for better things when they eventually, we hope, come to fruition.

 

Australasia Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Australasia: notturno
Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
3.2 / 5