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Massimo - Hello Dirty

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Artist: Massimo

Album: Hello Dirty

Label: Mego

Review date: Jul. 8, 2003

Sadistic Noise from Sicily

The first and only time that I've bled from my ears was when I was 14. I was racing one of my friends on a bike, and I hit a bump. I woke up a few minutes later with a concussion, and I was bleeding from my left ear. Weather or not this jarring to the noggin had anything to do with my decision to write about music for the rest of my life is still up for debate. Nevertheless, it's 12 years later and as I listen to Hello Dirty, the first full length from Sicily's Massimo, I fear it might happen again.

Steeped in the PC (as in computer) driven world of extreme noise/experimental electronics – the same that spawned genius forays from TV Pow, Kevin Drumm, Pita, and such – and the rather un-PC world of Juvenile adolescence excess (drugs, pornography – lots of DIRTY pornography judging from the albums artwork), Massimo wields a crafty, epileptic sonic blowtorch that tempts one with volume and voracity.

On first listen, you cannot help but notice how low you have to set the volume level just to even take in Hello Dirty's" intensity. But as the album progresses, one is often tempted to, gasp!, turn it up, thus pushing the envelopes of aural ingestion and sheer force to very uncomfortable levels. Add headphones into the mix, and its like putting your fist over a candle – you know its going to hurt, and you really shouldn't be doing it, but you can't help but lower your fist closer to the flame.

There's a sadistic side in all of us (I think the first week gross of "Jackass" proved it’s not just part of a deviant psyche) that, like a little devil, says "What happens if I inch the dial forward some more? How far can I go before my ears ring like Sharrock's amp? And will I cry? I bet I cry!!" At the same time, as the volume is increased you can sometimes hear small repetitive melodies that resemble Terry Riley (okay, Riley on an Ice and Ether binge), and a little bit of Fennesz. It's something that – like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music –upon first listen, it's rather unbearable, but the more it sinks into the subconscious, the “dirty" beauty of the beast blooms in full.

Brilliant as all get out, and sure as hell guaranteed to diffuse the most burnin' of parties.

By Stephen Sowley

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