Sunday, March 2, 2008
Austin TV - Fontana Bella
Artist: Austin TV
Album: Fontana Bella
Label: Terricolas Imbeciles
01. Ana No Te Fallé
02. Voces Iluminadas Por Sonrientes
04. El Secreto [De Las Luciémagas]
05. Nadie Esta Aquí, No Hay Nadie, Nada Hay Aquí
06. Flores Sobre Las Piedras
08. Mientras Las Hojas Caen
09. Voló Al Cielo
I like my music powerful, dramatic, and emotional. However, on the odd occasion, I will let my hair down for something a little more fun than the more intense tastes in which I indulge. I'm referring to music that doesn’t necessarily put up a challenge for the intensity of my engagement with it --music that will wash over me and brighten my mood. I was expecting Mexican 5-piece Austin TV, sporting amusingly The Locust-esque costume and masks, to do just that, and I was half right. Formed in 2001, the bands third album, Fontana Bella, contains the best of both worlds, emotionally driven instrumental rock with brighter moments scattered throughout. The concept of the album was to reflect everything that happens in the forest in which a mysterious inhabitant of Avandaro lives.
It is daylight, but it’s hard to tell when you’re surrounded by a mass of pine trees blocking out the sun. Suddenly, there is movement in the shadows. Something or someone is out there lurking, watching your every move, waiting for the perfect chance to reveal its sinister self. Your mind starts racing. You’re all alone in the woods. No one can help you, no one will hear you scream, and there’s no reception on your mobile phone so don’t even bother to try. All those crazy stories about psychotic killers living in the woods, preying on young tourists, mounting their heads to walls like a trophy kill, and eating the rest of them for dinner don’t sound so crazy anymore. Completely paralysed with fear, all you can do is stand there and stare. Then, birds take off in all different directions, some scream, some chirp, it’s a bit hard to tell if they’re happy or not when you’re busy thinking about your impending doom. Moments later a nice drum beat kicks in accompanied by glistening guitars, bass, and keyboard/piano, all of which envelope you in a warm and gentle hug. “Ana No Te Falle” comes to life when spoken samples and strings are added to the mix. The sense of dread does not disappear entirely, but the overall mood of the track is uplifting and pleasant.
“Marduck” sees you skipping through the forest with a huge smile plastered on your face, joined by all the little cute and cuddly forest creatures running along side you, and colourful butterflies fluttering through the air. The sun streams through the branches; the air is the cleanest you have ever breathed. The guitars and bass evoke memories of carnivals and circuses visited as a child. A time in your life when you were truly happy, nothing was impossible. As childhood gives way to adolescence our perspective on life becomes tainted. Nothing is as it seems. Innocence is destroyed, and a part of our spirit is lost forever. The same can be said for “Marduck,” the bass turns nasty and the guitars explode close to the middle of the track. The joyful guitars from the beginning of the track fail to resurface through the thick and brooding guitars.
“Flores Sobre Las Piedras” is stunning and complex, the repetitive keyboard/piano pieces used throughout most of the track add another level of emotion not experienced in the other tracks. Slightly melancholic, it is a deeply reflective piece. Perfect for that profound moment when you find yourself facing something incredibly beautiful words cannot describe.
Delicate guitars and strings carry Fontana Bella to its triumphant end. The darkness of night blankets the closing track, “Volo Al Cielo.” Slowly making your way through the dense forest guided only by the light of a full moon, harmony engulfs you. Pure joy flows through your veins with tremendous force. The beauty of your surroundings is heart-wrenching. As you near the clearing, your pace quickens to a sprint, and you become blinded by tears. With your arms outstretched, you open your eyes and your life flashes before you as it does in the final moments leading to death. The music comes to an abrupt halt, the only sound is of crickets chirping. Under a dark sky filled with glittering stars, surrounded by pine covered mountains and overlooking a lake lit by the full moon, your journey ends, but your life has only just begun.
Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a band by their attire. Publicity photos for Austin TV show the band dressed as rabbits and more recently, as pines to coincide with the release of Fontana Bella. If you look past the wacky costumes you will be pleasantly surprised by the mature and passionate music created by the band. From its horror movie start to its life-affirming end, this is a forest walk worth experiencing. Whether you’re walking through the woodlands, trudging through the concrete jungle or in bed at night with the lights off and your headphones on, this album will allow you to see the beauty that surrounds us everyday.
-Leanne Simpson (thesilentballet.com)