Our Daily Bread 481: Hackedepicciotto ‘The Silver Threshold’

November 23, 2021

ALBUM REVIEW/Dominic Valvona
ALBUM PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Sven Marquardt

Hackedepicciotto ‘The Silver Threshold’
(Mute) 12th November 2021

Heightened snatches of beauty, romance and drama emerge from a backdrop of the Biblical, cinematic and ominous on Hackedepicciotto’s inaugural album for the much-celebrated Mute label.

The well-travailed and sagacious duo alias of the husband and wife creative match Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto, this outlet for soundtracking the mind state in the most tumultuous of times is just one such evocative project from the partnership over the years. Hacke has most memorably served his time with the cult experimental group Einstürzende Neubauten, whilst co-founder of the Love Parade, Picciotto, is a stalwart member of Crime And The City Solution. Both have crossed paths on numerous occasions, notably joining forces with Paul Wallfisch and Mick Harvey for the album and stage production Ministry Of Wolves.

By now accustomed to each other’s creative sparks, entwined even, the couple traverse a sulfuric skyline landscape of uncertainty and lament, but also a landscape, sense of time and place that offers some potential for change in the right direction. In the accompanying notes Hacke is quoted as saying that the recent pandemic restrictions and confinement gave him a “kind of weird euphoria”. Whilst such uncertain times of horror and stress can engulf some, this partnership saw it as a “gateway”, that they were “standing on a threshold” of something big. And so with the Godly parables of the Tower Of Babel suggesting wise co-operation over selfish pride and vanity, this epic scale soundtrack channels the couple’s past musical adventures (a touch of the metallic and industrial Neubauten, and some of that quality C&TCS panorama and gothic sorrow) across a geography that takes in an atavistic Middle East, esoteric Germany and mystical Far East.

The already mentioned Babel is given a suitable venerated and uneasy score of throat singing (ala Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain soundtrack), camel motion rhythms and soft strings as Picciotto narrates an Old Testament lesson. This is part of a trio of similar desert traverses, with the gothic-folk rippled and crunched ‘Trebbus’ stirring up visions of Egypt with its snake-charmer oboe sounds: although to be fair you could also be in Tibet, or equally scaling the Carpathian Mountain ranges under skulking skies. ‘Journey East’ seems to offer a trinket’s shaken version of an Arabian Clannad.

Those throat-singers return for a solemn piece of mysticism in the German trauma-hit town of ‘Kirchhain’ – a strategic barracks, assembly point during the horrendous Thirty Years War that was fought mainly across the pre-unification separate states of Germany.

There’s romance of a kind in the air with the partnership’s first real stab at a love song: ‘Evermore’.  A timeless sentiment of love is enveloped in a gothic tryst and the elements, with a gaping wind and unknown, unseen forces threatening to engulf the beautifully gestured soothed proceedings.

The Silver Threshold is a setting, a world in which frayed classical instruments meet metal, iron filling fizzles, pulsations, deep thuds and stirring gravitas. That album title-track is a dramatic if held example of this combination; imagine The Velvet Underground’s viola and the serious chimes of Renaissance Italy rewired by Basic Channel.

At times they sound like Dead Can Dance, at others, like Brian Reitzell, Itchy-O, and on the aching and creeping natured movement ‘Meeres Stille’ like some Kosmische ambient explorers. In the shadow of extinction-destructive meteors, arcane scriptures and the psychogeography of personal locations of importance, Hacke and Picciotto beckon a metaphorical Armageddon so that humanity can reset and follow a more altruistic, cooperative pathway towards the light. Salvation, hope emerges from a very rich soundtrack, both daemonic and chthonian that’s constantly mysterious, always interesting, and beautifully played. File this album under ‘esoteric and venerable feelings from the Hackedepicciotto love seat’.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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