As an American, I’m conditioned to expect every new song I hear to speak about some universal condition like love, or drinking from bottles, in English or at the very least, Australian Ebonics.
So when I innocently pressed play on Bernardino Femminielli’s single “Plaisirs Américains,” clearly without reading the title, I was initially a bit disoriented. Why can’t I understand what this man is whispering? Is he drunk? Have I somehow become inebriated? Is my tap water poisoned? Have I lost basic motor skills?
Or is this guy speaking another language, possibly French seeing as he’s based out of Montréal, Canada. I now know that to be true sInge I’ve finally taken the time to scrounge around through his internet presence. Frankly, I haven’t been this excited about discovering a foreign artist’s music since I stumbled upon the wonderful Shintaro Sakamoto earlier this week.
Beyond simple linguistics, Bernardino Femminielli’s music seems designed to disorient the listener, while instilling a calm sense of beauty. The Canadian man’s tunes may be the closest thing we currently have to an audio representation of an opium den.
The classical use of strings and grand piano on some of Femminielli’s songs doesn’t prepare audiences for the sheer ambience of the productions, and when coupled with his spoken word, raspy whisper style of vocal delivery The Twilight Zone is entered. Often times he’ll delve in with sluggish electronic components, zappy synths, and other effects borrowed from old European styles, and the effectual spaciness remains.
Confusion could very well be part of the endgame for Femminielli. His bio describes his artistic persona as a hyper-sexual, genderless provocateur, using a variety of mediums to get his point across, or simply confuse bystanders.
Regardless of his intentions, his music is a vacation from the norm, an unexpected discovery ripe to put one in a tranquil, albeit slightly foggy state.
His latest album Plaisirs Américains is out now on MIND Records and Bethlehem XXX. Stream the “pan-media mutation” below, via BandCamp.