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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE: Caelum et Infernum (2020)

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Caelum et Infernum pushes the bar even further than Wishstone, except that Robert Rich's guitar brings it to a more tameable level

1 Caelum 22:54

2 Infernum 23:27

(CD-R/DDL 46:21) (V.F.)

(Progressive Ambient EM)

Those who know Gabriele Quirici via social networks have discovered an affable man, very in love with his wife and his 2 daughters. He has lots of friends and he practices his hobby, which is composing EM while being well supported by people who believe in his music. For the Italian psychologist and musician, life is good. It's paradise! And if there is a slightly less sunny side, it's in relation to some of its patients. Where he often faces what Hell means to a majority of them. And it's even worse with the new Corona virus pandemic. Shaken by the death of one of his patients in December 2019, he undertook a musical introspection on what Hell could mean for these people who are living their hell on Earth. While composing the music between last December and January, he thought of his friend Robert Rich and his blades of lap steel guitar that he imagined in the heartbreaks of the abyss of Infernum mainly. These blades could also be a source of happiness in Caelum. Little by little, CAELUM AND INFERNUM got cemented with two long titles with atmospheres that stick to the visions of its author. And Hell is not easy!

It's with the songs of sparrows and insects that a sound wave reflects the peaceful and harmonious side of life of Caelum. The sound ceiling consists of this veil which pushes other layers to hatch in a heat which is reflected by an active life of a universe of abundance. There is congestion in this ceiling with multiple layers designed in serenity where our senses perceive distant oratorical chants. There will always be a weak link that makes Heaven and Hell coexist. One would not be without the other. And this thread translates here into a sibylline vision specific to the signature of Perceptual Defence. And it’s even more evident when the filaments of the lap-steel guitar are heard fully after 8 minutes, increasing Caelum's level of seraphic intensity. Dark winds infiltrate the territories around the 13th minute, injecting a heavy cloud of reverberations into these atmospheres. The wooshh and the waashh unite their destinies in a final where Paradise remains as enigmatic as its reasons to be.

These nebulous winds bring Infernum to our ears. Its first 5 minutes are like the transition from Paradise to Purgatory where the song of birds is confronted with organic effects spitting its gall by the relentless roars of Robert Rich. The effects of loops and echoes merged with noises from a crumbling Genesis give Infernum a very psychedelic vision. For music and its effects, it's an interesting part. I doubt it will be for everyone, but we are in the Luna division of SynGate where music gets more experimental. There is a delicious dissonance in this phase which springs from its thousand delights in ears well wrapped in a good headset. The raids of screaming sparrows and the incisive cutting of the guitar takes us into this whirlwind of a psychedelic nature where the crushed guitar of Jimmy Page and the restrained impulses of Robert Fripp combined with the deaf implosions of the atmospheres fill our ears for a delicious 10 minutes of music without melodious, even atmospherical, borders. The whole thing fades in hollow winds whose ectoplasmic chants reveal the rising sulfur of a red Earth where the specters arise dully. Yes, Hell is not easy!

CAELUM AND INFERNUM is not this kind of album which can be listened to between friends or in the open air. Perceptual Defence has accustomed us to the audacity of his music tinged with dark psychedelism since Illumina Tenebras, released in 2013 on SynGate. And I would say that this new album pushes the bar even further than Wishstone, except that Robert Rich's guitar brings it to a more tameable level. And I would insist on the fact that you have to listen to this music with your ears connected to Gabriele Quirici's primary vision. This is the only way to fully appreciate this CAELUM AND INFERNUM which should please, the eyes closed, to lovers of dark experimental music. There are some! I became one over the years ...

Sylvain Lupari (April 18th, 2020) ***¾**

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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