jennifer gentle A New Astronomy (CD, £3.50)label: A Silent Place
This album is dedicated to Giovanni Paneroni, amateur astronomer and misunderstood genius. He was born in 1871 and made a living out of peddling sweets and ice-creams around Northern Italy's towns and villages. In his free time, he developed his own, revolutionary astronomical theories: the Earth is flat, surrounded on every corner by perennial glaciers; the sun is nothing more than a small silver ball with a 2 meter diameter and a weight of approximately 14 kilos; Copernicus was wrong: the entire official astronomical science is just a bunch of lies; planets don't move, stars are just little fires hung in the sky, the universe doesn't exist. He also invented a new solar compass based on his extraordinaries discoveries. In his unstoppable attempts to promote the truth, Paneroni tried everything and suffered countless humiliations: he stalked professors, was arrested and became a well known character in many Italian universities. After some years spent in a mental institution, he died in 1950. Thousands of people from all over the country attended his funeral. "A new astronomy" is probably the most eccentric JG release to date. Recorded mostly in Marco Fasolo's bedroom on a 4-track cassette machine, the album has been conceived as the imaginary soundtrack for some of their most bizarre, vivid dreams - obviously interspersed by the occasional nightmare. It's made by grainy, hallucinated musical scores trying to depict the beautiful, the scary, the annoying and the simply absurd inhabiting dreams. It runs the gamut from ghostly ambient drones to brain-damaged acoustic sketches, covering everything in between - furious guitar freak-outs and a homage to British 60's producer Joe Meek included. File under: Captain Beefheart meet Syd Barrett on acid!
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