It’s time to step into the heart of darkness. If you are timid this may well be a place to explore with caution and one that despite the minimalistic hues of the journey is one you should undertake knowing you are likely chilled to the very bone. Sa Bruxa translates to The Witch in Sardinian and is the dark ambient work of Giuseppe Novella. There appears to be various releases under this moniker. The latest found its way in un-mastered form to record label Yoshiwara Collective who liked what they heard and gave it to Michael at Bladud Flies who is known for working with Current 93 and then what was originally envisaged just as a cassette release got the full CD treatment and worked its way to us.
The single track is 20 minutes in length and certainly left me hungering for more giving just an all too brief insight into the delicious dark heart of its artist. This is creepy stuff, the sort of sounds you are likely to hear whilst watching a very unsettling cinematic vision of hell and one to tuck up with a good horror book while listening to. I tried it as a companion piece to Stephen King’s The Langoliers and it worked perfectly with the novella heightening the tension and the approach of a terrible force literally tearing the planet to shreds and leaving nothing behind apart from a void of complete nothingness. Perhaps though this is a work closer to us than the fantasy land of King. A very haunted looking monastery adorns the cover and one can easily imagine the gates of lost souls who tread the catacombs below being left wide open here. The nefarious deeds of what went on in this deconsecrated place refusing to let the spirits of the dead cross over leaving them to traipse deserted corridors through eternity.
An ominous reverberating throb with horrifying mechanical clanks opens up this hellscape and drops us right into a tortured vision that whilst macabre is one that is actually quite soothing. We are, it feels like, in a place that the dead go to die and the underlying synthesized melody raises spectres of a ghoulish organ player summoning damned acolytes to worship and practice their fiendish rituals. Listen to this on headphones and the full tenebrous shadows will unveil themselves to you and completely set you on edge. What sounds like footsteps echo and the creak of stressed leather is flexed perhaps the swing of a hangman’s noose swaying in the breeze from the lychgate at the entry of this unholy place. These are sounds that will take your imagination into the depths of your nightmares. Again in the background there is a snatch of organ that sounds like an echo from the past. Perhaps in happier times a band played at a spring fair but now it is left just for a carnival of souls to frolic too, trapped in time forevermore. Is that raspy breathing we hear? Have an intrepid bunch of explorers ventured Robert Wise like to document this haunting and try and look for a rational explanation. They will not find one here and if they are lucky they may just survive to flee lives still intact, or perhaps they will join those already here? It is not left to the composer to answer any questions, they just act as a guide to scenarios opened up in your mind and they do it very well. The question is dare you actually join them?
(8/10 Pete Woods)