April 04, 2005

Various Artists "Il Programma di Religione"

Considering world events, what better time for a record like Il Programma di Religione, a unique tribute to the Pope. Not just Pope John Paul II, but...all of them. All 265 of them. On one disc. Think about that. On the surface, 265--that's going to mean a lot of songs about popes. Heck, that's a lot of songs, regardless of the subject matter! Though there are 265 songs for every Pope, if someone played Il Programma di Religione to you blindfolded, you wouldn't know what the theme was. Instead, you'd think you were hearing a bunch of really random noises put together in fifteen second bursts and put together to form a one-minute song.

Actually, that's pretty much what this is. While the concept is interesting, and the execution is done rather well, the content itself doesn't really lend itself to a tribute. At times, it feels as if this is nothing more than a noise rock project, something similar in nature to John Zorn's Naked City--where sounds go in and out at such a frantic pace, it's hard (and pointless) to look at the individual 'songs,' leaving the listener to consider the larger scope of the project. There's just so much going on with Il Programma di Religione--and it's not exactly easy to keep up with who does what and where--that highlighting one moment becomes a daunting--and downright impossible--task. It's worth pointing out that sometimes mundane sounds contributor Eric Wolf (AKA Sergio Van Lukenstein) appears on here, paying tribute to Pope Innocent II.

While the record may be an epic--kudos to mastermind Shawn Knight for spending two and a half years on this obviously difficult project--it's still an interesting listen. Where else can you go from computerized beats to screaming to heavy duty metal-like riffs to a burst of uncontroable noise and other forms of total weirdness and back again, all within a matter of minutes? Best advice is to simply forget about the concept and just put this in your stereo and let it overwhelm you. It works so much better that way.

-Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.boyarm.com

No comments: