Death In Vegas

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Dead Elvis , 7/10
The Contino Sessions, 6.5/10
Scorpio Rising (2002) , 5/10
Satan's Circus (2004), 4/10
Trans-Love Energies (2011), 4/10
Transmission (2016), 5/10

Death In Vegas is the invention of Brit multi-instrumentalist Richard Fearless. Steve Hillier helped him deliver his debut album, Dead Elvis (Concrete, 1998), a concoction of dub, rock, techno and ambient which bridged the genres in a way that few musicians had ever attempted (the American version has more tracks). While lacking the homicidal fury of Tackhead, there were similarities. Fearless' music was no less uncompromising and no less amoebic. His "technological" roots seemed to be in Detroit techno and Jamaican reggae, both genres that allow for a lot of free will in administering sound to the masses.
The album is amazingly diverse, the tracks sharing only one rule: no track should sound like the other, and no track should belong to only one genre. it begins with the subdued blues chanting of All That Glitters, underlined by Hendrix-ian guitar, jazzy keyboards, flat drumming, fat bass and neurotic noises.
The heavily reverbed dub-fest of Opium Shuffle magically evokes alien electronic hisses and a gentle medieval flute.
The joyful reggae dance of GBH is propelled by a powerful and catchy gospel keyboard riff and by the singer's mad hiccups. The follow-up reggae novelty, Twist And Crawl, sounds like a parody of the rhythm and blues standard Twist And Shout, but the repetition of the main theme (over a fractured organ line and frantic percussions) achieves a mantric quality.
The singles themselves that revelead Death In Vegas are completely different. The epic grooves of Dirt (thanks to a monster guitar riff) and Rocco (hammering drum'n'bass, wildly psychedelic guitar licks) seem to come from two different bands.
The instrumental second half of the album is, in turn, a completely different album, and possibly a better one, while no less eclectic. The futuristic chirping of Rekkit leads into the western melody of I Spy (that could have been on a Morricone soundtrack) which is followed by the ambient/trippy abstract electronic music of Amber and by the heavily syncopated reggae march of Rematerialised
Basically, half of the album is easy-listening novelties and half of the album is almost classical music.
(Translation by / Tradotto da Riccardo Previdi)

Death In Vegas e` un'invenzione del polistrumentista britannico Richard Fearless. Steve Hillier lo aiuto` a lanciare il suo primo album, Dead Elvis (Concrete, 1998) un misto di dub, rock, techno e ambient che collega questi generi verso una strada che pochi musicisti hanno imboccato. Mentre manca la furia omicida di Tackhead, ci sono comunque similitudini. La musica di Fearless, non e` meno intransigente e non e` meno amebica. Le sue radici "tecnologiche" sembrano essere nella techno di Detroit e nel reggae Jamaicano, entrambi i generi lasciano molta liberta` di volonta` nel controllo delle masse sonore.

While the first album was composed during Fearless' spare time, The Contino Sessions (Concrete, 1999) are a more ambitious affair, which developed over nine months of full-time work with his now cohort, sound engineer Tim Holmes. A few guests of honor lend their precious larynges to Fearless and Holmes instrumental melanges. Fearless retracts much of Dead Elvis, an album which was also a revolutionary manifesto, and digs deep into two novel sources of inspiration, one no less extreme than the other: late psychedelic bands of the 1960s, such as the Stooges, and German avantgarde-rock of the 1970s, such as Can. If one could mix the Stooges and Can with a hip hop beat, the result would sound very much like Come Down Easy. Hyperkinetic tracks such as Aladdin's Story and Neptune City lean, instead, towards the Chemical Brothers' sound.
The spoken narratives of Aisha and Broken Little Sister highlight a more mature side of Fearless' personality, a knack for rummaging the psyche in the tradition of Jim Morrison, and make this album a much more personal, private statement than Dead Elvis' public exhibition.

Following the album, the band has created several art installations around the world, very much inspired by Andy Warhol's work with the Velvet Underground.

(Translation by / Tradotto da Riccardo Previdi)

Mentre il primo album era stato composto durante il tempo libero, The Contino Sessions (Concrete, 1999) si presenta con piu` ambizioni, dopo nove mesi di lavoro "full time" , con una nuova corte e l'ingeniere del suono Tim Holmes. Alcuni ospiti d'onore prestano le loro preziose laringi alla miscela strumentale di Fearless e Holmes. Fearless ritratta un po' di Dead Elvis, un album che era ancora un manifesto rivoluzionario, e scava profondamente verso nuove sorgenti d'ispirazione, una non meno estrema dell'altra: la tarda psichedelia anni '60 di gruppi come Stooges, e il rock d'avanguardia tedesco, come quello dei Can. Se si potessero miscelare insieme Stooges e Can con un ritmo hip hop, il risultato suonerebbe molto vicino a Come Down Easy. Tracce come Aladdin's Story e Neptune City pendono invece dalla parte dei Chemical Brothers
La voce narrante di Aisha e Broken Little Sister da` rilievo a una parte piu` matura della personalita` di Fearless, una abilita` nel frugare tra la psiche nella tradizione di Jim Morrison, che rende questo album un po' piu` personale, senza l'esibizionismo di Dead Elvis.

Seguendo l'album ci si accorge che la band ha creato diverse installazioni artistiche intorno al mondo, ispirandosi molto al lavoro svolto da Andy Warhol con i Velvet Underground.

The usual cast of superstars does not salvage Scorpio Rising (BMG, 2002), too predictable and stereotyped. A few good ideas (Hands Around My Throat, Scorpio Rising) get diluted to the point that only the idea is left.

The all-instrumental Satan's Circus (Drone, 2004) was their least inspired album yet. Ein Fur Die Damen is a mildly interesting track, but it is followed by filler (the Kraftwerk-ian Zugaga) that sounds like leftovers from the The Contino Sessions.

They sounded like a different band on Trans-Love Energies (2011), generally more psychedelic but without a real focus.

Transmission (2016) was surprisingly an album if the style of Cabaret Voltaire, almost four decades later, a more electronic and noisy work albeit aiming for the dancefloor (You Disco I Freak, Sequential Analog Memory).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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