Diamat: I Can Only Love You If You Don’t Love Me (n5MD)
Diamat make music that seems relatively unconcerned with trends or the bite-size media nugget culture we live in. Most of this album’s eight tracks exceed the seven minute mark (some closer to ten), taking their time to evolve patiently rather than jumping headlong into a hook or refrain. I certainly don’t mean to take away from the trio’s ingenuity as producers or collaborators by making the comparison, but I can’t help but mention Ulrich Schnauss’s first 2 albums as a touchpoint; if I didn’t know this was a different trio, I’d have assumed Herr Schnauss was behind these lush arrangements. Instead Diamat is the brainchild of Attilo Bruzzone of Port-Royal alongside collaborators Andrea Zangrandi and Christos Garmpidakis. Most of these tracks are spacious, with plenty of room for effects and atmosphere. They also tend to include generous lead-in and -out, with pauses between tracks that feel almost too long at times, but such is the patient nature of Diamat’s music. The opening intro and subsequent swoon of “I Can Love You Only If You Don’t Love Me” that leads the album is a handsome indicator of what lies ahead. Second track “Kraloclk” is a dead ringer for vintage Schnauss (paritcularly his sunny debut), but it’s not all such an easy comparison, thankfully. “Heliotrope” is a hazy, shimmering beam of diffuse light, while the two part “Misunderstood” is its own mini-epic. It starts faintly and builds over the course of four minutes before a glorious thunder of classically crunchy IDM beats crashes in. It’s an awesome cartharsis and just one of several on this album, which relies fairly liberally on such high crests and low valleys to tell the story.
The same goes for “Shane Vendrell,” a track whose backwards vocal loops remind me of classic Orbital; before long it reveals itself to actually be a punchy club-compatible track, with a pronounced kick stab and a big sweeping arrangement behind it. “Painkillers,” over ten minutes long, also bobs along with a 4/4 beat eventually, but again, it’s all layered in such a way that it honors the shoegaze and lush underpinnings of the trio’s style. ‘Hartes Herz" is a nice beatless post-rock outro, reinforcing the narrative arc of the album; indeed, this is music meant to be heard in sequence as a larger, sprawling idea. They keep the tracklist short and the tracks themselves are long, so it’s about an hour of music altogether, one that rewards repeat listens with intricate details and its rich majesty. Recommended listening.