With new releases from veteran music acts Stella Diana and In Her Eye – for Stella it’s their 20 year anniversary – devoting an entire episode of Chill to Italogaze was obvious. Unfortunately, the process of writing about this hasn’t been but that’s another story to tell. Since the day “the scene that celebrated itself” was considered dead by the UK music press to the formation of Stella Diana in 1998, the history of Italian shoegaze has been based on loose foundations. While America and other countries had their niche boutiques, band and label to turn to, Italy’s two acts beforehand seemed to be Sonic Youth-influenced Marlene Kuntz and early Frozen Autumn – a band that went on to more darkwave leanings. So the term loose foundations would be appropriate. Note – Argentine shoegaze and dream pop band Mellonta Tauta recorded their 1994 LP “Sun Fell” in Italy if that’s any consolation. Even when Stella was formed, it was with two members – Giacomo Salzano and Dario Torre – a drum machine and a demo to rockit. Although they did some touring playing in festivals – one of them featuring Clan of Xymox, their first proper release wouldn’t be until 2005. Two years later, Aldo Bernuzzi, Giuseppe Galotti, and Stefano Schiavella decided to form In Her Eye. They released their first album in 2011.
Since then, the Italian shoegaze scene has gained considerable momentum somewhat comparable to the morphed and revived nu-gaze and shoegaze reunions around the world. From Rev Rev Rev who seems to be inspired by MBV, Jesus and Mary Chain and UVS to Be Forest – who relies on the aesthetics of futuristic preservation and the ever-evolving and revolving influences of Clustersun, there’s many Italogaze bands that rely on the various stages of shoegaze and even dream pop, from the pre-Loveless age of wall of sound echoing distorted yet lush guitar sounds to the post Loveless/Eno Slowdive incorporation of electronics, Guthrie like guitar riffs and the classic wall of distorted lush guitars with the typical hushed lyrics throughout. With Vipchoyo Sound Factory, they even have a label that’s been friendly to them also…just like Projekt and Bedazzled in the US and 4AD and Creation in the UK. They recently released a nifty Italogaze compilation album.
And of course they never underestimate the emotions as Stella Diana quoted when recording the 2018 released “Iris”. “As always happens, there is no relationship between the title and the lyrics. Iris is a vortex, a wall, a set of sensations. An elusive feminine figure suggests that perfection is represented by the number 3, but the rest of the lyrics emphasize the difficulty of communication between people. In Her Eye echoes the same with their latest release “Change” – “Closer to me was the first song written after our latest EP Borderline came out. It’s one of those songs that, as you write them, you already know you’ll love: because it grows instinctively, smoothly. It’s essentially a love song. It can be interpreted in many ways, as often happens with our lyrics. It’s actually above all a (self-)discovery.”
So no need to explain where Italian shoegaze came from – actually i tried to write a brief history… but WordPress. A playlist is below with links.
By the way – considering the focused theme, i made this episode immediately available on my this is chill#/the daily chill YouTube page. Chill #44 – Italogaze is available on Spotfiy podcast for a limited time and if you’re a SoundCloud subscriber, I have it attached below.
1 – harrison ford – stella diana
2 – buzzing flowers ecstasy – rev rev rev
3 – close to me – in her eye
4 – dream las vegas – HalloweenStabParty
5 – losing myself again – umbrella burning festival
6 – lonely moon – clustersun
7 – crazy – mary’s restless dream
8 – breath – obree
9 – lovers – novanta
10- iris – stella diana
11 -ripples (alt version) – rev rev rev – Speaking about this version rev rev rev member Laura Iacuzio comments -“This alternate version is the very first mix that came out in the studio. We liked its dark mood but felt it didn’t completely fit with the general atmosphere of the album. So we asked Alessio and Fabio for some changes and went for a different version on the record. But we kept this one, which finally found its place, being featured in the “Chiaroscuro” Italogaze compilation, out last May.” 12 – cherry – kimono lights
Special thanks to Laura Iacuzio
note – feature article includes sources from press releases
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