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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/28/2011

Pick

Gatto Fritto Gatto Fritto

There are artists who construct a wall of inscrutability around themselves through misdirection and anonymity, and then there are those who are simply not there. Gatto Fritto is one Ben Williams from the UK, and like many of his ancestors from the world of leftfield disco, we don't know, and just don't need to know, much more than that.

While Gatto Fritto (the artist) remains somewhat of a mystery, Gatto Fritto (the album) is rather impressive, exploring melodic space disco while filtering strains of old Italo-disco, forgotten pastoral IDM, and psychedelic Balearic trance into an organic-feeling whole that transcends the limited scope of today’s chillwave tag. Sometimes there are vocals ("The Curse," "Hex"), but they're altered and integrated as one element in the mix, adding to emerging themes rather than calling attention to themselves. It's the beats and textures that are the stars here, such as the thickly layered vintage synthesizer arpeggios lazily spiraling across "Solar Flares Burn For You," the congas and electric pianos propelling "My Etheric Body," and the ecstatic pileup of urgent melodies that take "Beachy Head" straight into space.

Two epic tunes make up Gatto Fritto's peak middle. "Lucifer Morning Star" sugarcoats a tale out of Milton with a vocodered lullaby melody over soothing synth washes and adorably wobbly bass. That's followed by "Invisible College," which starts with a jaunty acoustic strum and handclaps and slowly builds into a knotty, multi-part summer-bonfire-disco throwdown that sounds like the best figures of nu-disco jamming together along the ocean's shore.

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