Milanese - 1 Up
UK Release Date:

27 September 2004

Track Listing:

1. Billy Hologram
2. So Malleable
3. Cowboy
4. Iacon
5. Flex
6. Head Bocs

Milanese - 1 Up mini album (Warp Records)
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2004
Original article:

There's no better label to throw down the gauntlet and challenge your ears to a duel than Warp Records. '1 Up' by Steve Milanese is no exception as it starts off sounding like Flat Eric taking a trip to a ragga club, its Mr Oizo bassline and booty shaking beats rapped over by what seems to be the terrifying bark of Satan's dog. This sets the decidedly uneasy tone as Milanese indulges in some typically tricky Warp-style beat-mangling and rams some mid-nineties jungle, complete with shouts of "Original", "Easy" and "Geezer", through the musical mincer.

Metallic, squelching bass and snatches of slowed down breakbeat trauma couple with a Stephen Hawking-style robot vocal on 'Cowboy' but this is just Milanese toying with us until the real terror is unleashed. The onslaught begins with the dark atmospherics and tension-building sound effects of 'Iacon' that give way to a stumbling, staggering drum and bass rhythm driving us on through gunshot beats and evil, grinding, clanking groans from hell. This is pure Armageddon for the eardrums, banging, pounding and freaking you out before exploding in a doomsday buzz.

No respite is given as we are dragged deeper still into the sinister, dark and fiery pits by the even more obscure, formless racket of 'Flex'. Momentary relief comes courtesy of a quivering little melody that sounds almost too nervous to impose itself before it inevitably gets swept away and drowned by another tidal wave of clattering drums. The panic attack continues with 'Head Bocs' as tense strings are shot down by jackhammer rhythms and maniacal laughter to end an anxiety-riddled journey of shattered rhythms, demonic noise and general abstract weirdness.

Milanese manages to produce music that is more menacing than the Aphex Twin on a bad trip, and that is quite some achievement, though whether that is something to be proud of is a matter of opinion. Sounding at times like a one man band falling down the stairs this is either clever and challenging or unlistenable and challenged depending on how you want to see it. Either way, it's certainly not pretty.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014