Cellophane: Music Colours

The notion of timelessness seems to be overwhelmingly an afterthought within the realm of contemporary dance music. The current system is driven by fast-paced mechanics, which carelessly govern the life cycle of a composition from its genesis in the studio to a quick consignment to oblivion on a hard drive.

I find myself questioning the quality and weight of a number of releases that swim complacently in this sea of mediocrity. Corporate machines with a sole interest in profit construct seductive images of a fashionable lifestyle. This attempt to breach the citadel with sanitized ammunition falls short of a dimestore smoke bomb. The Orwellian structure drowns out substance and leaves a blameless public to consume what the corporation dictates is relevant to their overfed bank accounts. But after the smoke clears and frail trends dissolve and evaporate, the drums of permanent art continue to unforgivingly bash industrial strength sound-waves through the air with the fearless power of Thor’s hammer!

When excavating record store bins, the music archeologist tirelessly hunts for timeless sonic artifacts to enlighten the listener and elevate them to an exotic state of conciseness. One such composition that fits the requirements to achieve this level of cerebral insight is Cellophane’s Music Colors. Produced in 1983 by Alessandro Novaga and Giorgio Paganini, it is an Italo masterwork that defies the convictions of time and space, constructing a direct link to the Chicago House and Industrial music gene pool. Examining the anatomy of Music Colors uncovers a drum code that can be mistaken for Adrienne Sherwood and repetitive piano riffs that reflect the early works of Marshall Jefferson. A recipe of sophisticated drum programming, cautious application of effect processors (especially with respect to the use of the vocoder) and cutting edge sound design become an equation for absolute dance floor devastation.

Further scrutiny of the structure of Music Colors unveils connections to the Italian Futurist composer Luigi Russolo. In 1913 Russolo penned the The Art of Noises, a manifesto that claims the human ear has become too accustomed to the machines and soundscapes of the industrial revolution and thus requires a “new sonic palette” demanding new methods of musical structure and instrumentation. Cellophane applies articles of Russolo’s theory to create a sensation that is timeless and will continually produce colorful experiences to the listener.

Review by: Justin Long