Her Space Holiday

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Home Is Where You Hang Yourself , 6/10
Manic Expressive , 6.5/10
The Young Machines (2003), 5/10
The Past Presents The Future (2005), 4/10
Xoxo Panda & The New Kid Revival (2008), 4/10
Her Space Holiday (2011), 3/10

Her Space Holiday is the brainchild of Marc Bianchi. The style of Audio Astronomy (Train Bridge, 1996) used to be called dream-pop before drum machines and loops turned it into microprocessed music.

Bianchi's progress is documented by the singles Her Space Holiday (AudioInformationPhenomena), Slide Guitars & Moving Cars (Clover) and Wish List (Motorway), and by the EPs Something Blue (Brave Noise) and Silent Films (Dogprint).

The Astronauts Are Sleeping Volume 1 (Skylab Operations) and The Astronauts Are Sleeping Volume 2 (No Karma, 1999), collect compositions for guitar and synths recorded between 1996 and 1998.

Home Is Where You Hang Yourself (Tiger Style, 2000) contains one CD of 10 new studio tracks and a CD of 8 remixes. Bianchi's plan is to release eight Her Space Holiday records in one year. This album marks a major breakthrough in Bianchi's quest for a postmodern harmony. The simple sounds and techniques that make up Bianchi's arsenal are assembled in complex architectures of music. Bianchi has reached the point where where "lo-fi" turns into "hi-fi", roughly the way Apples In Stereo did in pop music. Bianchi found his true voice via Codeine's and especially Bedhead's "slocore", Spiritualized's torpid shoegazing Talk Talk's dilated synth-pop and even relaxing, trance-oriented new age music, not to forget the experiments on the song format conducted in the 1970s by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. Mostly, Bianchi simply tries to sing old-fashioned melodies and old-fashioned stories with a mixture of grand gestures and soft touches (Sugar Water, The Doctor And The DJ). Occasionally the add-ons prevail and the song is warped into a spacetime singularity (Snakecharmer). Often, Bianchi reaches back to the roots of folksinging, with a more subdued tone (A Matter Of Trust, Famous To Me). The second disc is snobby and impersonal as most remix affairs are.

Her Space Holiday e` il progetto di Marc Bianchi, compositore eccentrico di San Francisco. Il suo manifesto fu, qualche anno fa, il brillante e gelosamente indipendente Audio Astronomy (Train Bridge, 1996), il cui stile era un dream-pop alterato in maniera quasi allucinata da drum machine e loop.

Dopo un pugno di singoli non meno creativi, Bianchi ha pubblicato l'anno scorso i due volumi di The Astronauts Are Sleeping, che raccolgono "canzoni" per chitarra ed elettronica composte fra il 1996 e il 1998.

Home Is Where You Hang Yourself (Tiger Style, 2000) e` pertanto il primo album composto in maniera organica. L'opera e` ambiziosa fin dalle dimensioni: 10 brani sul primo CD e 8 remix sul secondo CD. Il piano di cui fa parte e` ancor piu` ambizioso: Bianchi ha annunciato l'intenzione di pubblicare otto dischi entro la fine dell'anno prossimo A giudicare da questo "assaggio", farebbe bene a meditare attentamente. La sua ricerca di una armonia postmoderna ha del fascino, ma troppo spesso giostra unicamente su tecniche e suoni scelti (e soprattutto sovrapposti) in maniera accorta. Le architetture sono imponenti, ma alla fin fine l'imponenza e` tutto cio` che rimane. Un po' come la Tour Eiffel.
Bianchi rappresenta una pietra miliare del rock piu` che altro perche' corona la vertiginosa progressione del "lo-fi" verso l'"hi-fi". Questi menestrelli casalinghi adesso producono arrangiamenti che farebbero invidia a Mariah Carey.
Nei momenti in cui funziona, la sua operazione si ispira allo "slo-core" di Codeine, Bedhead e ai tardi Talk Talk, con un pizzico di shoegazing alla Spiritualized per tener svegli gli ascoltatori, e naturalmente i dovuti debiti teorici verso gli esperimenti sulla forma canzone condotti negli anni '70 da Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. Bene o male che sia, quasi in ogni canzone quello stile si adagia in trance rilassate al limite della musica new age.
Ma alla fine rimane soprattutto il senso della "grandeur" di Bianchi (Sugar Water, The Doctor And The DJ), che offusca un po' le sue eccentricita` (Snakecharmer). Suona piu` sincero quando si ricollega alle radici umili dei folksinger (A Matter Of Trust, Famous To Me). Suona decisamente impersonale sul secondo disco, quando tentazioni snob gli prendono la mano, come d'altronde succede in molte (troppe) operazioni di remix.

Ambidextrous (Wichita, 2001) is the usual (tedious) album of remixes.

On his way to coin a form of grand, symphonic pop, Bianchi borrows ideas from Debussy, DeFalla, Stravinsky, Hindemith rather than, say, Van Dyke Parks or Brian Wilson, to assemble the melodic tour de force of Manic Expressive (Tiger Style, 2001). While the project gets more and more intriguing, the fact remains that, at the end of the day, one is hard pressed to remember any of the songs. The mildly psychedelic Hassle Free Harmony and the baroque minuet of Lydia stand out.

Bianchi exceeds in romanticism on The Young Machines (Mush, 2003), an album that sounds either too ethereal or too wimpy. Even the best songs (My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, Sleepy California, Something to Do with My Hands) sound like Mariah Carey masquerading as Kraftwerk. It is not enough to drench a melody into electronic sounds.

Marc Bianchi relies too much on his lyrics for the songs of The Past Presents The Future (Wichita, 2005) One has to like his stories to like his music. His cinematic quality, particularly the way he arranges the sections of strings and woodwinds (Missed Medicine, The Weight of the World), is wasted on these half-baked profound meditations (an oxymoron, but the best way to describe the irritating tension that exudes from the album). Bianchi aims for the symphonic poem, for the ambitious, spatious, epic use of all musical means to deliver a complex message. Then why waste time with pop songs?

The two EPs Let's Get Quiet vol 1 (2005) and Let's Get Quiet vol 2 (2007) sounded like inferior leftovers.

Xoxo Panda & The New Kid Revival (2008) is full of fluff and devoid of new ideas.

Her Space Holiday (2011) was presented as the final album for Her Space Holiday and it was also the worst of the entire repertory.

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