Artist: Casa del Mirto
Title: Taxus Baccata
Label: Mashhh! Records
Keywords: Electronic, Chillwave, Glo-Fi, Hypnagogic Pop, Italo Disco
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
I just can’t break out of my eternal love of all things Italo Disco / Wave, and because of that, I’d like to take all of you out there on a journey to the places of my mind… so, imagine it’s a nice Summer night, and there’s the unmistakeable feeling of energy in the air, like anything could happen… and we’re on Disco Beach, a weird Pan-Dionysian island resort where money doesn’t exist anymore but no expense seems to have been spared, and common love and good vibes are the new currency.
Why does it exist? Because we wanted it to… for our amusement, to have a place to go to be close to each other. To fall in love, for the first time, or to find love has caught us by surprise again with someone new. To find ourselves. For fun and laughs. The answer might be different for each of us. The natural beauty of the locale would have existed independent of our whims.
You’re there now, as am I. You look around… there are friends playing volleyball on sands still warmed by the rays of the sun now passed, or sitting near each other drinking, eating pizza and having various kinds of conversations and discussions. There’s a large boardwalk with lit up rides, a Ferris wheel, a small rollercoaster; a place where young punks in eternally garish clothes play arcade games into the night and lovers seek thrills. There are stylish, hi-tek hi-rises where anyone can go to lounge or sleep, with saunas and ridiculously oversized pools. There are fashion mullets everywhere. People in suits walk around with each other smiling and partaking in fun after a grueling week at the offices they left behind. Arguments are few to be found, tending to be brief, and either end with two people realizing that they really want to be with each other after all or else finding the one (or ones) they really loved all along right under their noses.
It’s a place where life’s treasured moments can be made. A place where life can be truly lived. A place where our individuality can best be expressed and extend without interference or serious objection into the social realm.
Who would you be, here?
Here, I’d either be timidly flogging some of my cassette recordings… and/or soaking up impressions of what to review later. I’m practically all business these days. B|
So what would the soundtrack to such a place be like? Probably an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of sounds, of moods… from lo-fi cassette tape butt-grunge, to glistening electronic pop, to soulful r&b, to vaporous mall muzak, to house trax that make you wanna dance all night or at least contemplate such. Of course, for the remainder of this review, our soundtrack is surely going to be this work, Taxus Baccata, by Casa del Mirto, an artist I discovered just moments ago on a user-created chillwave mix on 8tracks.
The introductory track, ‘Stone’, doesn’t indicate right away just what we’re in store for. It sounds more like the kind of ambient piano with reversified noises you’d expect in an episode of some popular NBC drama where a character silently died in a hospital bed, or contemplated suicide, perhaps by walking slowly and dramatically into the ocean, or laying next to their significant other in bed while we were meant to infer that their relationship has become stagnant and unfulfilling, or perhaps alternatively during a bittersweet and emotionally charged scene in which two characters embraced each other, crying over something that happened, or maybe… eh, the list could literally go on and on forever on where such an atmospheric could potentially fit, which tells me really that this artist could probably make too much money licensing this piece of music out for use in a television show, like for real.
Thankfully, the drama ends, or is rather ‘Thwarted’, on a track called ‘Thwarted’. Here is a very different vibe, with electronic tones floating around and then BLAM! Lovely synthpop happens. It’s a downtempo Italo track with some rare moments of dark energy flowing through it by means of occasional minor chord strokes and, at one point, a violin achieves the same. Very cool. I love the vocals.
Next up is ‘Weak’, which gladly is not the weak track on this work, instead bringing a bit more force on the palate with higher energy dance / electro vibes. AND — rhythm guitar splashes. Yes! A ufo threatens to abduct us at one point, but thankfully we are saved by some up/down arpeggios. This one’s a killer track for the poolside disco of our mind, where maybe we’re inside a tiny beach house party zone and hanging out with the goths.
Slamming in afterward is the delicious title track, ‘Taxus Baccata’, almost an industrial beat box vibe here, where my heart lives. Weirdness space, distorted grooves, string stabs, bell sequences, heavy fx-treated vocals.
Then, it’s more of a ballad for our late-night bonfire, for ‘Finale’ which adds some downtempo grooves under piano and the vocals. It seems to build in momentum, filling up with love as it goes along.
A kaleidoscopic sound journey for sure… and don’t forget to visit out beach of the brain more often! It’s always a nice trip. 😉 ❤