Alternative music reviews

Pitch Black Dream

Fading Away May 2006
Fading Away by Pitch Black Dream

It just takes the beginning of the first track Cause Of Death: Unknown to remind me of what Pitch Black Dream can do. It might be midday when you are listening but the light dims, shadows lengthen, and a humid warmth descends like a Gothic fantasy. And that's before Bernadette McCallion's vocals begin. Once she begins to sing, then you are wrapped in her voice and you never want her to let go. When the album finishes it's like coming out of the Cinema in the daytime and being taken aback by the daylight.

There are three elements here that combine to produce such intensely atmospheric music: the voice, the music, and the production. The care and perfectionism of each part produces music of real power. The basis of the music is electronic beats of subtle dynamics orchestrated mainly by keyboards and with that beautifully harmonised female voice over the top. Remember the last time you just kissed someone you loved solidly for about four minutes? That's like one of these songs.

Pitch Black Dream are not in the hunt for Rock n Roll stardom though. They pitch the music for film and television work (and have had some success with this). It isn't so much that this is music for Producers to select music for films, more that you hear the music and want to make a film based around it. It would have to be a lush, sultry, Indie love story movie that reduces an audience to silent tears. And for years, adolescent boys would rent the DVD just so they could revel in the eroticism.

Never Going Home August 2003
Never Going Home by Pitch Black Dream

Dreamy, beautiful music from New York duo Bernadette McCallion and Rich Gaglia. It's perfect late-night music throwing emotional and sexy coals onto a real fire that burns in the corner of the room bringing warmth and soft flickering ambience into your life. It doesn't sound like anything else around at the moment and the only comparison I can make is with Anna Domino, whose gentle and crafted releases I used to eagerly await from Belgium in the early 80s.

These are the sort of songs that grow with each listening - familiarity breeds affection. There's a kind of funky electronic feel to much of the music coupled with some astonishing rhythm programming that is so good you don't notice it but just feel the emotional effect on the songs as a whole. A lush, sultry backing for a lush, sultry voice. I don't want to pick out individual tracks because it stands as a complete collection of music, but I have to say that Just Another Night is a particular favourite. I can't wait to hear Pitch Black Dreams version of Bowie's Space Oddity on the Spiders From Venus Bowie tribute later this year.

Rich Gaglia is obviously a bit of a muso: a talented multi instrumentalist indeed. He featured on the very good Pushing Red Buttons CD I reviewed a few weeks ago. Coupling his considerable musical skills with Bernadette's sensual voice has really worked well. The only negative thing I can say is that the music is a bit too constant in rhythmic terms - it is meant to be this way judging from the accomanying notes, so it's just a personal preference. For me it misses some of the variation and tension of another male-female duo, Silverman with their wonderful Speed of Life Part 2. But even so it's an affecting, accomplished record and, In fact, I am dedicating the changing of the Cool Noise to it's new black noise design to Pitch Black Dream.

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