My Cat is an Alien - Different Shades of Blue (A Silent Place LP)

The bazillionth transmission from whatever planet Italy's My Cat is an Alien are orbiting is actually a revised reissue of a CD-R that came out on the U-Sound label (#19), ran by Jackie-O Motherfucker honcho Tom Greenwood. The lovely insert that comes inside boasts that these sides were recorded live to tape February 12th, 2004 at MCIAA's Space Room, no overdubs and no outtakes. But! Look down a few lines and you'll see the words "this is a different, re-edited & remastered version of the original release". I don't have the original CD-R in my possession so I'm afraid I'm not able to tell you just how different things are, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. It's also worth noting that this record is also available as a coloured heavy weight LP with a bonus 7" (ltd. 131 copies; sell a few of your possessions to obtain) and and "art box" edition with painted artowrk and the like (ltd. 19 copies; sell a few of your children into slavery to obtain). This regular edition is limited to 700 copies but comes with two very nice inserts, one of which is a slick postcard featuring the album's cover art in greater detail, so it's no big loss.
The first side is chock full of spaced-out drones and something that sounds like a satellite signal beaming into your skull from somewhere off the coast of the Milky Way. There's also sounds like a xylophone or a toy piano being plinked away at in the background and some pathetic machinery gasping for air. Some of this sounds like field recordings made in the year 2320 A.D. when robots have taken over the planet entirely - waterfalls of nuts and bolts and mechanical animals all about. The second half of the piece (there's a pretty distinct fade out that seems to imply more than one track on the side) is a bit more "traditional" MCIAA fare with toy guns and various cheap tricks played under the clatter of cymbals and heavily-mutated guitar tones. The peacefulness of the side is greatly disturbed by the ending when the spaceship lands directly on your roof. Fare forward, voyagers!
Side two picks up almost exactly where the other side left off, with the static from your now-crushed antenna ringing in your ears. It cools off but things are still a little more busy than the last side. It actually reminds me a lot of when I saw the duo live. Maurizio Opalio appears to be laying most of the groundwork with his "electric alien guitar" and "cosmic rays effects" while brother Roberto his hopping back and forth from toy guns to lightsabers to keyboards and percussion. Things do kinda space out here, figuratively and literally as well as the two let their drones harvest and manifest themselves into whatever form they may. This side ends much in the way the first did, getting louder and noisier and then drifing off...
I haven't heard nearly as many MCIAA releases as I'd like so I don't know entirely too well how it stands up against their already-enormous discography, but I like it just fine. Much more activity and playfulness at work here than on last year's tremendous "Cosmological Eye Trilogy" for Last Visible Dog, and we all know how great that one was. Worth checking out!


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