Fabulous Diamonds

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Fabulous Diamonds (2008), 7/10 (mini)
Fabulous Diamonds II (2010), 6.5/10
Commercial Music (2012), 6/10

Melbourne-based duo Fabulous Diamonds consists of drummer Nisa Venerosa and keyboardist Jarrod Zlatic, who also recorded as Spores Of The Golden Beard (2005) and Maximum Awesome (2007) and was also a member of the Magnetics of We Are The Mountains We Are The Fields (Sweat Lung, 2007), with guitarist Ben Andrews and drummer and vocalist Sarah Heyward. The untitled songs of the mini-album Fabulous Diamonds (Nervous Jerk, 2008) relied on a disorienting emotion-less attitude that occasionally (especially in LP3) evoked the moribund keyboards-driven gothic-existential bands of the early 1980s (like Dark Day). The more austere LP4 tests an unlikely hybrid of church hymn and glacial nursery-rhyme rigmarole. The peak of imagination is reached in the last three songs: the spectral, harrowing LP5, the instrumental LP6, that weds Anthony Braxton-ian saxophone minimalist repetition and Caribbean rhythm, and the surreal frenzied African dance LP7. The EP exudes echoes of the new wave of the late 1970s and early 1980s from virtually every note.

Fabulous Diamonds II (Siltbreeze, 2010) contains two lengthy pieces. 1 begins as a slightly syncopated take on Neu's motorik rhythm, enhanced by a sleepy organ in an accordion-like register. A second, pulsing organ track shifts gear to an exoteric climax and sure enough the voice intones a Nico-esque litany. The organ picks up pace and the drums begin to sound dubby. 5 is the duo in its most elementary mode, a straightforward wedding of minimalist repetition and dub music.

Commercial Music (Chapter Music, 2012), the first album whose songs have titles, contains the eight-minute ethereal trancy litany Inverted Vamp, juxtaposing trotting drums and droning organ; the quasi-folk chant over muffled tribal polyrhythms of John Song; and the pow-wow dance with confused vocal harmonies and devilish synth a` la Suicide of Lothario. Initially, the eleven-minute instrumental Downhill sounds like a trivial loop of booming drums and stuttering keyboards, but the keyboards slowly mutate their repetitive pattern making it faster and more intricate until a tumbling bass riff introduces a more varied finale. This is a more self-indulgent work whose idea of repeating very simple ideas wears thin.

Nisa Venerosa also plays in Bushwalking with bassist Ela Stiles and guitarist Karl Scullin. They debuted with First Time (2012).

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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