D/B Recommended: XXL (Xiu Xiu Larsen) & ZEA (The Ex) @ Marie Antoinette Berlin | Friday, 29.06.2012

Ciautistico! is the debut album from XXL (Xiu Xiu Larsen), a collaboration between the Italian experimental cult band Larsen and James Stewart”s mutated-pop project Xiu Xiu.

Both groups consider their joint creative clash as a new band in itself more than just an occasional collaboration as it has been already proved by the succesful sold out theater performances in Italy by XXL.

Edited out of long and intense jam sessions the sound of Ciautistico! is totally schizophrenic, swinging between orchestrated pop songs, almost-techno beats and minimalistic droning tracks, but framed into a common melancholic mood and fronted by the inimitable James Stewart.

XXL | Sunday

Ciautistico! is also the first Larsen’s album out on Important after the critical and commercial success of their previous Play and before their forthcoming ep and full length ( with special appearances and contributions by Deathprod, Origami, Lustmord, Jarboe, Julia Kent ) slated for release later this year

Ciautistico! seems an impossibly natural handshake between the two bands. Glockenspiel, synth, accordion, and theremin all remind you that Xiu Xiu are present, but their usual glaring, forward sound is burnished by a gentle Mediterranean pace. Impulsive electronic beats and xylophone flourishes pepper a cauldron of instrumental drones, dissonant chord clusters, and on occasion, impassioned hollers (are they Jamie Stewart’s or Larsen’s?).

XXL | Minne Mouseistic

On “Minnie Mouseistic” Caralee McElroy recites a broken monologue in phonetic Italian over treacherous guitar tones and the dry heaves of a harmonium. The result is like an enamored child trying to describe her first glimpse into her future as a fabulous whore.

But there are truly gorgeous, expansive tracks, too; “Distorted Duck” plays like a five-minute instrumental serpent uncoiling in the late afternoon sun. It’s difficult to proceed into fall without the overcast of regret for not having lived it up more during the summer. XXL provide a way out, though. Put on Ciautistico!, close your eyes, and imagine yourself in your happy place.

ZEA | Song for Electricity

One of the finest, most inventive duos in music, Zea merge itchy jangle and the persistent peck of sinewy beats, to create an agitated, angsty beard of bees, but with a profound sense of humour ever present.

Experimental in the very best limit-testing sense, their scratchy squall and slightly off-kilter riffs, not to mention the rubber hammer of the zippy electronica, make for fascinating, and dryly comic listening.


Friday, 29 June 2012 | 21:00 CET
Marie-Antoinette | Bogen 47 | Holzmarktstr. 15-18 | 10179 Berlin/Mitte

xiuxiu.org | larsen.to.it