'vérité music' with MAO
Fascinated with combining mysticism and on-location recordings filmmaker Fabrizio Federico's debut album 'Graveyard Music' by MAO was recorded at many notorious locations over the year such as Aleister Crowley's abandoned Boleskine house near Loch Ness, this music falls to earth as a broken star child, both mystical and beautiful, but most worryingly - cursed.
Unable or not wanting to create any solidly structured compositions, other then the skydiving 'Geronimo' and the disturbed despair of 'Witchfinger Magick' the album consists mostly of atmospheric free-form instrumentals that see Federico drift through a number of different spectral moods. From calm melancholia to intense anxiety, mirroring an unbalanced state that further adds to the haunting nature of this album.
''One song was inspired by a phone call I had from a lost friend who was going through a breakup because of their families sabotaging their relationship to the point of it being irreparable. After the phone call I drank some Ayahuasca and just played and played...''.
Mixing desert beats and occult guitar scales, it's a dream like album of soundscapes, skits & alien experimentation sounding very much like a journey into dark emotions or an electric mass. Probably best described as a malevolent take on psychedelic rock with a sinister undercurrent of the 60's dream.
Depending on who's listening it's either a mess or a modern masterpiece. A magpie of international shades, his films and music have never compromised over the years ''I've never been the sort of person who can schmooze and play the game, in the long run that's just a waste of time''.
The albums centerpiece is 'Catcher In The Rye'', this schizophrenic piece spirals out of control early on, never before has a piece come so close to capturing the sound of a mental breakdown's levels of delicacy, from ecstasy to the oblivion of finally reaching bliss after surviving the nightmare. Other highlights include 'The Supernatural' which conveys Federico's guitar playing, rooted in the blues but shinning in space. Essentially a snapshot of the guitarist's mental state while recording the album (carrying graveyard soil in his guitar case, lighting black candles and recording the solos on his phone at locations such as Boleskine, Beachy Head and Manningtree) to capture and play along with these Vicodin atmospheres.
Federico then moved to Hungary where he hit rock bottom following an accident involving boiling water. In Budapest he then started work on his upcoming film Loon. 'The films were just experiments in turning the trivial into art, I prefer everyday life experiences, mass produced feelings and sub-cultural movements, non of it matters really''.
That sweet lovable fallibility much warmer then any of the mere 'icons' is charming, but can also make him as maddening as a close friend.