Perdurabo – Magnetar

A powerful, poignant journey through beautiful, emotive melancholy...

Perdurabo is the alias of classically-trained multi-instrumentalist Davide Arneodo, a long-standing member of Italian alternative rock unit Marlene Kuntz who divides his time between Turin and Berlin. ‘Magnetar’ is Arneodo’s debut solo album, its songs and structures forming painstakingly over almost a decade, often in the margins of his other projects. The album finds Arneodo operating with the deeply collaborative spirit that has characterised his work both inside and outside Marlene Kuntz, with vocal contributions from Echlo (Chloe Charles), Daudi Matsiko, Tom Adams and Miro Shot (Roman Rappak), while the rhythmic spine of the whole album is provided by Apparat drummer Jörg Wähner.

‘Hopes’ is one of the major highlights here, its focus resting lightly on the deflated, detached vocals of Tom Adams and Daudi Matsiko. The lyrics point to a feeling of release from the endless trap of hope, but these notions are framed with dark and melancholy fringes, their spiky guitars and undulating synths highlighting a sense of struggle and emotional torment. ‘Cast Stones’ is another of the album’s biggest moments, alternating fluidly between a frantic, insistent pulse and a fragmented, emotionally-charged, heart-wrenching framework of devastating melodies and buzzing blocks of synths. Miro Shot’s enthralling vocals are sullen and infused with anguish, finally becoming replaced by an instrumental coda with stirring vocal textures, which provides an emotionally-charged end to the album’s first half.

One of two tracks featuring Echlo, ‘Rushing Rapids’ also features guitar from Einstürzende Neubauten’s Jochen Arbeit. ‘Rushing Rapids’ seems to speak of some sort of intense emotional distress, Chloe Charles’s vocal delivered with a soulful levity even as the track feels like it is becoming apocalyptic in its depth. A nod to Arneodo’s classical chops arrives with sweeping, swooning strings that sound like they were lifted from an Indian film.

While your attention is inevitably drawn to Arneodo’s vocal collaborators on these songs, it’s the album’s two instrumental tracks that really highlight his ability to sculpt and shape emotions. The eponymous opening shot features Wähner’s driving, relentless drums, offsetting Arneodo’s upward spirals of ascendant, rapturous synth melodies. The track has a sense of power and determination, but also a sort of skipping restlessness which filters its way across the rest of the album. That fidgety quality shows itself here with buzzing pulses, scraping electronic tones and a beatific rolling piano sequence that encompasses minimalism and the type of rippling post-jazz technique of GoGo Penguin’s Chris Illingworth.

That same sense of wild – yet controlled – intensity appears again on the album’s other instrumental, ‘Berlin Rain’. Dominated by thunderous beats, below the surface rhythms lurk sparsely-arranged sounds and half-melodies that haunt you long after the piece has finished. ‘Berlin Rain’ ultimately collapses in on itself with delicate pianos, oscillating synth tones and the sound of rain coming together to create the beautiful, emotive melancholy that is so essential to this album’s powerful and atmospheric poignancy.

8/10

Words: Mat Smith

‘Magnetar’ by Perdurabo was on January 26th, 2024 by Perdurabo World.

Clash contributor Mat Smith will be joining Davide Arneodo at London’s Strongroom on Tuesday (February 27th) to talk about the album. Tickets available here 

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