For a few weeks now I’ve been working on a new musical project. It’s a collaboration with one of my oldest friends. This friend is an amazing artist and illustrator. He’s created almost all of the album art for the Goodbyewave albums I’ve put out over the years. He’s also put me onto some amazing graphic novels since I’ve started that whole obsession. We’ve decided to collaborate on an audio/visual project together, where I will create musical pieces and he will use those pieces as inspiration to create art. I started a similar project with another old friend last year, and hopefully that will see the light of day at some point. Since starting this new venture, however, I feel I’ve been more inspired to create and my good friend seems pretty inspired by what I’ve created so far. Where that previous project was mainly me creating layers of guitar loops exclusively, this new venture is steeped in analog and digital synth, with guitar and electronic percussion layered throughout. It has been a long time since I’ve been this inspired and ready to create, so this has been an exciting time for me. I can’t wait to share this one when it’s done. It’s going to be pretty amazing. Trust me, folks.
So speaking of collaborations and musical inspiration, I dug out an album I bought way back in January called Law Unit. It’s a mega dose of heavy synth and ominous vibes. It was part of a group of LPs I picked up a couple weeks into the cold of the New Year that I’m just now starting to digest. Law Unit was sorely ignored until recently and I’ve come to appreciate and delight in its creamy, synth-y center and oily, grimy slickness.
Law Unit is the collaborative effort of Antonii Maiovvi and Umberto(Matt Hill.) Both of these names may not mean much to you, but on their own they’ve been creating Giallo-inspired heavy synth and Gothic music for years. Both names bring up visions of sweaty Italians on the dance floor under a mirror ball and horror icons Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. Of course those names are supposed to make you think of Italian discos and the macabre masters of Italian horror. I have a feeling these two guys(Maiovvi is actually British producer/musician Anton Maiof) spent lots of time watching VHS copies of horror films and possibly indulging in plenty of 80s French club music and Giorgio Moroder. Nothing wrong with that. On their own, Umberto and Maiovvi make fine music. Umberto’s Gothic leanings are fun for those dark and dingy nights alone with nothing but you and the TV playing old 80s slasher films. Though, Umberto likes to throw in some bits of New Order and Depeche Mode to give the music a dance-y feel. Maiovvi on his own is more along the lines of house and techno music when not turning up the creepy factor(his split on the Foreign Sounds imprint with Slasher Film Festival Strategy is damn brilliant.) His Bandcamp page is overwhelming to say the least. But with Law Unit these two form a truly creepy and ominous duo.
The music? It’s heavy on the synth and tribal rhythms. It sounds like the soundtrack to some lost Abel Ferrara exploitation flick or some cult slasher film. Alien sex fiends, serial killers, creepy voyeurs, and demented cellar dwellers would surely blush at the sounds on this LP. Titles like “Gold Digging”, “Taxidermy”, “Butcher”, and “Defenestrate Thyself” pretty much sound like they read, as do “Icebox”, “Bonethugs”, and “Bloodsucker”.
Death Waltz Originals knows what their patrons like, as does Law Unit. They can also explain their artist better than me, too. So, let’s hear it Death Waltz/Mondo:
LAW UNIT feels like exactly that; to paraphrase a certain TV show, “a lone crusader in a dangerous world”. Like a one-car journey into the night of Hades, dissonant synths and intent percussion surrounding you at every move. The cacophony at times is terrifying, the apocalyptic feeling echoing through distant electric guitars and sampled vocal chorus, following you, hunting you. Or are you hunting them? But what makes this record doubly worth your time are the snatches of beauty, of wonder, hidden within Reflective synth lines, guitar, sometimes ambient, other times in the foreground. LAW UNIT is a masterpiece of hard beats and harder synths that you’ll want on your stereo when you’re making that next trip into the dark unknown. -Mondotees Website
I also quite like this quote, as I think it sums the record up nicely:
The resulting album is made up of ten dangerously cool and evocative cuts, the kind of tracks that put you in the mood for LA circa 2019, or the Detroit of 1987.
So yeah, Law Unit is this mix of industrial, dark wave, and experimental music that hits both ambient and melodic, brooding moods. I have to say that while I dig the work of Antoni Maiovvi and Umberto on their own, I feel that together they bring out the best in each other. This record is a great moment of collaborative artistic highs.
It had been awhile since I’d talked some heavy synth, so I thought I better make up for that.
So if you’re into this sort of thing, you should pick up a copy. There’s still some available on Mondo’s site. My local record guy snagged this for me from Light In The Attic, so there’s no excuse. Get this delightfully orange circular chunk of dark synth goodness and get lost in its Gothic world. I mean, LA circa 2019 is only 3 years away. And Detroit 1987? Yeah, I could see Robocop clomping around the Motor City annihilating thugs and crooks to the sounds of Law Unit.