One Starving Day stand out among the new league of Italian bands which struggle to find their own musical idiolect in the intense urban traffic of contemporary avant-rock influences.
The quintet, founded by Pasquale Foresti (vocals, samples and bass), includes Marco Milucci (guitar), Francesco Gregoretti (drums), Andrea Bocchetti (guitar) and Dario Foresti (synthesizer, samples and vocals).
Critics usually shower One Starving Day with any number of labels affixed by such nifty terms as “post-“, “sludge-“, “doom-“ and such like. None of these help to analyze the sound achieved on the band’s first full-length CD. Whatever category One Starving Day falls into, the band reaches the high water mark. Through the mutually dependent forces of attraction and repulsion, the musicians achieved a rare equilibrium between the aesthetics of abysmal ugliness and intumescent restraint.
Black Star Aeon
Dario Foresti unleashes sequenced electronic stitches that loom and vanish repeatedly like slowing rotors of an unidentifiable flying device. Sustained organ coatings and low-range buzz almost transport us to long oxidized Teutonic shores of Sand, Code III and Cosmic Couriers. Bowed guitar and splashy cymbal overtones eventually hit the road. An infernal machine awakens slowly from its catacomb, steadily lurching forward with delicate acoustic guitar cupids fluttering around. Crunching guitars under its paws, the beast sniffs around before advancing further, oiled by sampled strings and achromatic synthesizer. A repugnant, noctilucent growl penetrates this gruesome, outlandish imagery. The drummer thumps out liquefied life forms from the monstrous apparition. Along with deep, intimidating bass rumbles and sustained cybernotes, Francesco Gregoretti is solely responsible for solidifying the stationary bridges between the anguished stanzas.
Cello-like scale passages provide a suspenseful invitation into this dusky, pictorial piece. Phlegmatically and unenthusiastically, a rich inventory of tones is stockpiled by the guitars, the synthesizer and the samples, all dipped into the solution of buzzing molasses. From the didactic electric static, there emerges a guitar line and a menacing mid-tempo rhythm section. Mushy surface swivels from the self-serving synthesizer. Finally, the stately guitars strut forward like larger-than-life totems.
Unobtrusive electric guitar plants linear seeds in a frail, vulnerable groove. The painstaking sowing is observed by sampled strings, and a rising crescendo from the other instruments. Pasquale Foresti’s recitation is barely audible, but it does add a creepy sense of foreboding. The band then changes direction, throttling back and eventually locking in the twin guitars in a comforting melodiousness. Mutated, dissonant shouting and vocal altercations quickly subvert this open-sky ambience until a cosmic pause sets in with abrasive, plasmatic keyboard work and sustained organ notes. The full band then offers a reprise of the initial theme. Anguished, paranoid vocal turns this into an unexpectedly traumatic experience.
Hand percussion and strummed bass tug each other hesitantly, spied on by a synthesized swirl. The languorous pace and the dulled mix of the sluggish rhythm section here may be responsible for the inexorable comparisons with Godspeed You Black Emperor. But in stark contrast to the Canadian formation, the Italian band juxtaposes a piano sound and sample strings with the leader’s unnerving, calamitous vocal nihilism. As usual, the structure of the track is broken and a more introspective section relies on skin caning and birching, with some ruffled synthi sound interwoven into the infrastructure. Back on stage, Marco Milucci’s and Andrea Borchetti’s guitars slog their way in a more eloquent and less pedantic fashion.
Silver Star Domain
A frigid, apathetic piano solo struggles with its own parapraxes. It does not attempt to correct them and for a moment the circular repetition brings to mind Corrupted’s most Pharaonic labyrinths. Instead, Dario Foresti allows for the theme to evolve naturally, in a liturgic, elegiac fashion. Raw, uninspired synthesizer peers somewhere from above…
This is so far the band’s only full-length recording. Other compositions appeared also on samplers – “Emo Diaries 7” and “The Silent Ballet Compilation Series”, neither of which I have heard. Apparently a new CD has been in gestation for a while.
ONE STARVING DAY: “Broken Wings Lead Arms to the Sun” (2002)