Tullia Benedicta – Anteros

Tullia Benedicta - Anteros

Tullia Benedicta – Anteros

Although never a label to discourage the collaborative tangling of its artists and their shared musical influences, the Italian-born and now London-based Tullia Benedicta is perhaps the first younger artist to be openly inspired by the work of Second Language’s co-founder Glen Johnson and his work leading Piano Magic.  Previously a member of Italian post-rock outfit Grace, Benedicta may certainly know her way around the sprawling Piano Magic canon yet despite the fact that this debut solo album bears the hallmarks of immersively listening to the likes Low Birth Weight, Son De Mar and Writers Without Homes, as well as including supportive input from Johnson and his bandmates Jerome Tcherneyan and Franck Alba, the darkly alluring Anteros is far more than a mutual mentor-mentee appreciation affair.

Framed by a blend of organic and processed musical arrangements, Benedicta’s vision here is a tacit tussle between intimacy and detachment.  After the brief opening collage of found sounds, eerie ambient layering and plangent keyboards that makes up the self-descriptive cinematic “Intro”, the album properly begins with the mesmeric centrepiece “Beats Or Silence”, a shadowy languid mix of watery beats and Benedicta’s vocals recalling some of This Mortal Coil’s guest singers.  In its wake, the programmed backdrops shift into more glitchy and shimmery patterns for the sensual “Signs” before bleeding into the subterranean beats, ethereal washes and spoken-word prowling of the disconcerting yet engrossing “Blind”.  For “Devotion”, ’80-meets-‘90s electronica and piano lines snap and pulse around Benedicta’s commanding tones to imagine prime-time Depeche Mode with a female replacement for Dave Gahan.  On the ensuing “Edge Of Life”, Tricky’s Maxinquaye is cross-fertilised with Dead Can Dance to conjure a dank film-noire score, whilst the piano-led “Rain” recalls the haunted atmospherics of Nick Cave’s “A Box For Black Paul”. Proceedings conclude with an extended remixed reprise of “Beats Or Silence” by Tcherneyan, which deepens, extends and complements the original version’s captivating reach.

Anteros is certainly not an easy listen but neither is it hard to be drawn in by its magnetic attraction, which grows stronger with each listen.  A stark, promising and enigma-encoding new beginning in short.

Second Language