Dean Roberts

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Thela: Thela , 6.5/10
Thela: Argentina , 6.5/10
White Winged Moth: I Can See Inside Your House , 6.5/10
White Winged Moth: Silo Blanket , 6/10
White Winged Moth: Ribbon Arcade , 6/10
Moth Park , 6/10
All Cracked Medias , 7/10
The Grand Cinema , 6.5/10
Be Mine Tonight (2003), 6/10
Autistic Daughters: Jealousy and Diamond (2004), 6/10
Autistic Daughters: Uneasy Flowers (2008), 6/10

New Zealand guitarist Dean Roberts played guitar in Thela, an avantgarde trio (also featuring Rosy Parlane) that released two albums, Thela (Ecstatic Peace, 1995) and Argentina (Ecstatic Peace, 1996), each one containing lenghty artsy/noisy jams, halfway between Dead C and Massaker.

After the band broke up, Roberts started a solo project named White Winged Moth with I Can See Inside Your House (Poon Village, 1996), a collection of eight instrumental vignettes situated haflway between John Fahey and Derek Bailey.

It was followed by Silo Blanket (Formacentric, 1997) and Ribbon Arcade (Formacentric, 1998), that Roberts used as testbeds for his experiments of digital sound manipulation.

His first solo album, Moth Park (Formacentric, 1998), presented a different artist. The music is spiritual and ambient, psychedelic and ethnic.

His masterpiece is the sprawling suite Kompakt Arcade on All Cracked Medias (Mille Plateaux, 1999). There are traces of Brian Eno and Robert Wyatt in his painstaking work on building sound for the sake of sound.

And The Black Moths Play The Grand Cinema (Mille Plateaux, 2000 - Staubgold, 2004) adds a three-unit combo and numerous instruments that help to release some of the claustrophobic tension of the previous masterpiece. The fusion of glitch pop, live instruments and droning minimalism is one of his peaks.

Aluminum (Erstwhile, 2001) is a collaboration with Austrian improvisor Werner Dafeldecker.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Carlo Maramotti)

Il chitarrista neozelandese Dean Roberts suonava nei Thela, un trio d'avanguardia che pubblico' due album, Thela (Ecstatic Peace, 1995) e Argentina (Ecstatic Peace, 1996), ognuno contenente lunghe jam strumentali. Dopo che la band si sciolse, Roberts inizio' il progetto solista chiamato White Winged Moth con I Can See Inside Your House (Poon Village, 1996), una collezione di otto bozzetti strumentali situati a meta' strada tra John Fahey e Derek Bailey. Fu seguito da Silo Blanket (Formacentric, 1997) e Ribbon Arcade(Formacentric, 1998), che Roberts uso' come banco di prova per i suoi esperimenti di manipolazione digitale del suono. Il suo primo album solista, Moth Park (Formacentric, 1998), presenta un'artista differente. La musica e' spirituale e ambient, psichedelica ed etnica. Il suo capolavoro e' la suite scomposta Kompakt Arcade contenuta in All Cracked Medias (Mille Plateaux, 1999). L'interesse per il suono, nel suo attento lavoro di costruzione musicale, rivela tracce di Brian Eno e Robert Wyatt. And The Black Moths Play The Grand Cinema (Mille Plateaux, 2000 - Staubgold, 2004) aggiunge un combo di tre musicisti e numerosi strumenti, che aiutano ad attenuare la claustrofobica tensione del precedente capolavoro.

Roberts converted to slo-core with the mini-album Be Mine Tonight (Kranky, 2003), that consists of four (long, slow) "songs", arranged (mainly) for guitar, drums, bass, piano. All Pidgins Sent To War (first ten minutes of the first track) layers romantic piano notes, jazzy hi-hats, hypnotic guitar strumming, and oneiric, floating whispers. Six minutes of languid guitar tones introduce Disappearance on the Grandest of Streets (second half of the first track), whose three-minute sung part glides over soft, warm, busy drumming. Smash the Palace and What Nerves you Got is slightly more upbeat, almost threatening in the way it releases harsh beats and tones. The 11-minute Letter To Monday is perhaps the most intimate, seductive and evocative of the batch, and its last three minutes lull the listener towards a celestial, hummable ending.

The return to song structure of Be Mine Tonight (three long slocore songs for voice, piano and guitar) led to Autistic Daughters, that debuted with Jealousy and Diamond (Kranky, 2004), a trio project with contrabassist Werner DAfeldecker and Radian's drummer Martin Brandimayer. Their six songs (plus one cover) are long and convoluted essays in sound and word painting: the xombie-like out-of-tune litany of A Boxful of Birds, the spastic post-gospel crescendo of Spend It On the Enemy, the ghostly country-music of the title-track (Neil Young on valium). Thankfully, they occasionally stretch beyond the basic Nick Drake-ian lament. The lounge music of Florence Crown Last Replay mutates into cosmic signals and slow-motion jazz jamming. The Glasshouse and the Gifthorse (the standout) boasts a dreamy atmosphere and a central intermezzo of futuristic county-fair music that hark back to Tim Buckley's early works. As far as intimate easy listening goes, this album represents an utter failure: it doesn't sound intimate (too elaborate and intellectual) and it is certainly not easy. Dean Roberts rediscovered slocore and pop music but, like Jim O'Rourke before him, failed to add anything unique to them. Last but not least, Roberts' vocal skills are mediocre at best. The charm of the textures and the dynamics are often spoiled by his unattractive and monotonous singing.

Autistic Daughters' Uneasy Flowers (Staubgold, 2008), a seven-movement psychological concept album, lacked the punch that could make it memorable. It excelled at quietly shaping fragile atmospheres, especially towards the end (Hotel Exeter Dining Room, The Richest Woman In The World).

Not Fire (Erstwhile, 2020), his first album in 12 years, collects songs composed between 2014 and 2019.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)

Roberts si converte allo to slo-core con il mini-album Be Mine Tonight (Kranky, 2003), che contiene quattro (lunghe, lente) "canzoni", arrangiate (per lo più) per chitarra, batteria, basso e pianoforte. All Pidgins Sent To War (primi dieci minuti della prima traccia) dispensa romantiche note di pianofore, rintocchi jazz, strimpellii chitarristici ipnotici e sussurri onirici e fluttuanti. Sei minuti di languidi toni di chitarra introducono Disappearance on the Grandest of Streets (seconda metà della prima traccia), i cui tre minuti cantati planano su un soffice e caldo tappeto rimtico. Smash the Palace and What Nerves you Got aumenta leggermente il ritmo, quasi minacciosamente con i suoi toni e battiti aspri. Gli 11 minuti di Letter To Monday è forse la traccia più intima, evocativa e seduttiva dell'insieme, e i suoi ultimi tre minuti cullano l'ascoltatore in un un finale celestiale.

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