“Souvlaki Reheated – An Italian tribute to Slowdive” is a declaration of love to the music of Slowdive(band) and their album “Souvlaki”, which turns 22 years old today. This tribute album is available in free download and involves ten Italian projects and bands: Antartica, Białogard, Nicolò Carnesi, Claudio Cataldi, Felpa, Haas, MasCara, Novanta, Il Ragazzo Del Novantanove, Stella Diana.”
I remember when “Souvlaki” came out. Being a die-hard shoegazer, I was anxious to hear the new Slowdive and it didn’t let me down, despite the fact that shoegaze was “ so 1992” according to indie critics and friends. “Souvlaki” ended up as one of the most epic Shoegaze albums ever, but it did indeed reflect that Shoegaze was past its expiration date at the time of its release in May 1993: the album differs greatly from its predecessor “Just for a Day”. Where “Just for a Day” almost sounded like one long extended song, “Souvlaki” has more variety in style ( dub, ambient, acoustic, pop, shoegaze…) and character. Every song tells its own tale; has its own mood. It is like a collection of snapshots…a sonic photo-album.
I think it is this quality of “Souvlaki” that has inspired the artists on “Souvlaki Reheated”, since they seem to bring out the specific character of the songs, sometimes almost to its bare-bone structure. The emphasis here is clearly impressionistic which is a bit surprising, to be honest.
Shoegaze in Italy ( Italogaze) is a big thing right now. It houses some outstanding shoegaze acts like Stella Diana, Clustersun, Be Forest, Kimono Lights, La casa al Mare and Rev, Rev, Rev. So if anything, these are the bands you would likely expect to see appearing on a Slowdive tribute album. Right? But apart from Stella Diana, the bulk of the contributing artists seem to be relatively unknown (as of yet) to the Gaze scene.
What is also noticeable is that the dominant mood is either electronic or acoustic in nature and not guitar-effect based at all. In a way that makes sense, I mean what’s the point of doing a gazy interpretation of a Shoegaze album? I suppose with a tribute of “Souvlaki” you can either bring out and re-shape the Gaze or bring out the other more sober acoustic or abstract electronic ( “Enochian”) aspects of the album. With a few exceptions from Mascara and Stella Diana, I think the latter has happened. This, sort of, re-affirms the Mood-Mosaic quality of “Souvlaki” : each song its own colour, its own flavor. Souvlaki reheated, not burnt J Enjoy!
A few words from the creator of the Project, Manfredi Lamartina, aka Novanta:
“Souvlaki is one of the biggest album ever and for all the bands involved on Souvlaki Reheated that album is one of the biggest influences. We all love Souvlaki and we all love Slowdive. I think my project Novanta is a tribute to the Nineties sound and especially Slowdive. 40 days is one of my favourite song and it has been so hard to “remake” it because it’s simply perfect. Moreover another of my favourite bands, Lali Puna, made an amazing version of that song some years ago. So it’s been hard for me to find my way to that song. I can only say that this cover is full of love, admiration and respect. Same story for the other nine artists involved, I think J”
The artists themselves:
1.”Alison” Nicolò Carnesi: (Nicolò Carnesi is a young singer-songwriter from Italy. His music stays between Italian tradition and international fascinations.)
- “Machine Gun” MasCara (MasCara are a band that mixes post-punk, new wave and indie rock. Their live sets are shocking.
“The birth of this cover is a bit ‘special, because it comes from an error. During the assignment of the song (we don’t know how) we recorded souvlaki space station’s drums and bass and we did a mistake. One week from delivery they tell us that perhaps there had been a misunderstanding and our correct song was Machine Gun. Here, doing the hard way, we decided to keep the work as we done and to realize in a week what we call now : “the cover of the wrong cover”. We think that this eclectic way is the result of this wonderful misunderstanding.”
- “40 Days” Novanta (Novanta is the solo project by Manfredi Lamartina, a Sicilian musician who lives in Milan. Shoegaze, post-rock and electronic music, melancholy and atmospheric.)
- “Sing” -Il ragazzo del 99 (Il ragazzo del novantanove is a project of modern and refined electronic, an incisive summary of the meaning of playing while looking at the future.)
Il ragazzo del 99:
“The cover of “Sing” was recorded in the middle of the night, within the walls of my apartment, using two synthesizers, a PC and a lot of love for the reverb. I asked my
friend Anna Roggiani to sing my emotions and David Boccafogli to solve my technical problems with mixing and mastering.”
- “Here She Comes” Claudio Cataldi (Claudio Cataldi is a singer-songwriter from Palermo. He loves intimate atmospheres, acoustic guitars, and songs full of love and hate)
“Here she comes” was a natural choice: this song has been one of the soundtracks of my last winters. I wanted it to sound like a Mojave 3 or Field Mice song. I’ve had this acoustic arrangement in my mind for a long time.”
- “Souvlaki Space Station” Białogard (Białogard is a project between dream pop and electronic music, with plenty of reverb. His albums are complex, experimental, and charming)
- “When The Sun Hits” Antartica (Antartica plays minimal, obscure, and mysterious songs. His music is based on crescendo, loops and plenty of melancholy.)
“when the sun hits”..the first time i heard it, i felt paralyzed.i was really young and my approach with composition started.i always turned on my stereo when i felt strange..and always when the sun hits was there.work on it..just amazing..the way,how..and why.its just a declaration of pure love for this magic band.i wanted to change everything,giving to it my sensitive prospective following all memories that i livedin my life all the time that this song was playing.”
- “Altogether” – Felpa (Felpa is an introverted shoegazer, keen on Slowdive and Eighties’ music. He loves a particular kind of nighttime and wintertime sounds.)
- “Melon Yellow” by Stella Diana (Stella Diana are one of the best Italian shoegaze bands, with a unique sound that alternates rarefied atmospheres and walls of sound)
“we never liked to play a song like the original, if i do a cover i want to customize it bringing something of our sound…this is what we did with melon yellow preserving the spirit of the original song with the style of stella diana, we hope to have succeeded”
- “Dagger” Haas (Haas: Synth-folk from Italy to the heart of Germany’s black forest.)
“I’ve always been overwhelmed by how the song managed to be simple yet so powerful – that really frightened me when i approached it. i tried to keep it as untouched as i could.”