Surfing on the Desertshore
'Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, Awesomely simple, that's creative.' (Charles Mingus) Since it's inception in only a year's time, this post-power trio has been drawing musical shapes beyond it's limits. It is a solo creation of Carlos Nishimiya, a superb guitar player, and occasionally multi-instrumentalist that played a main role in many notable underground bands during the 80's and 90's. Notwithstanding being a cult figure in the music circle, never received the right plaudits from the mainstream press. In this case, let's say, Underrated with capital U. His playing and songwriting has a profound affinity with the folk-rock heritage (Richard Thompson, Jim McGuinn, Mike Heron), some flirting with the laureate heavyweights and it's respective aces (Free, The Who, Led Zeppelin), an obscure charm extracted from a Progressive vein (Justin Hayward, Anthony Philipps, Peter Banks), a nod to a more contemporary visionaries (Nick Saloman, Kevin Shields) and an evident influence of the twin-guitar school of The Blossom Toes and, mainly, Wishbone Ash. Having in mind such an eclectic and superbly well informed background, the least expectancy was an ordinary sound, and to challenge even himself he chose the conceit of surf-music for his new adventurous turning point. Therefore, adding two good musicians in the mix, Mauricio Guedesson (bass) and JC Goes Rock (drums), the master disappeared into a new musical continent for him. Using, des-using and de-constructing the surf-music backdrop, they've reached a uniqueness that owes more to their Very own mysteries than any other flux of influences. And that's their Beauty. An uncategorisable One! Mixing orthodox structures (i.e. within the surf tapestry) with popsters delicacies, fuzzy diatribes, psych imagery, and jangly-and-folkster (re) inventions, the debut works as an orgy of climaxes. Exploring also the terrain of sunshine-pop, and even (re)creating an orch-pop ambience, obviously without an orchestra, all album tracks were done with a prowess and dexterity hardly matched by contemporaries who, consciously, attempt to do so. In a solid attempt to widen the surf palette, Nishimiya, sophisticatedly, adds subtle elements of folk (on the fluttering guitar harmonies), progressive (around certain time signatures), and a general cinematic sci-fi tone brushes all over the canvas. The highlights, oh well, the truth is there is no highlights. It would be very unfair to pick two or to three tracks to demonstrate their superlative oeuvre. Consequently, a track by track would give us a better overview. In alphabetical musical order, to be more precise. "Surf To The Moons Of Saturn" provides a filmic Morriconesque tone fused in an Eastern atmosphere, where the dialogues between bass and guitars surf in sui generis crescendos able to avoid even the cutting edge of the cliché. "Freakin' Out Surfin' In" is an arresting hard-surf-ballad with a wholly convincing slice of psychedelia; somewhere between a Moby Grape in a caustic stance and a Bevis Frond in it's delirious pathways. "Flowing Through The Purple Sea", behind it's Who-esque chords, uses a circular Shadows vibe incensing the song in an odd loungy ambience. "Roswell" brings a caterwauling mélange of a sturdy drumming rhythm decorated by the spree of a surprisingly whistling-noise-popster guitar. Mind, this is the first time a Brit Class Of '86 pattern merges in a surf show and, to make the show still more unconventional, there's a weeping feedback in the middle of the theme. "Falling Into The Heart Of The Sun", a hypnotic song full of unexpected nuances! It shows a sense of urgency, and an uneasy rhythmic structure, where Nishimiya's rifferama flies in a sharp and swirling mood. "Quasimoto" appears uncannily like an abstract painting; a canvas made of sci-fi and human flesh moulded in a riff that Andy Powell forgot to write when recording "Argus". Probably the most emotional piece of the album; probably the most touching tremolo sound heard in recent years. "Questionable Navigation" arrives soft-and-furiously as a flush of a moon-drenched view; spumes of punchy bass lines, crunching and fluttering guitars, and a full late night atmosphere. Can you imagine Steve Hillage shouting glissandos in an unreleased Nirvana song? "Nobody's Fault" has an eerie darkish intro which grows into an original time signature, and culminates into a peculiar surf-flamenco pastiche. "Levitation" contains a psych-laden wave that it is externally hypnotic and inside collects guitar riffs that saunter through the surf gallery of the 50's till the apocalyptic visions of what can be made of that style nowadays. The wobbly melody line walks along the most sophisticated arrangements of drums and bass of the whole album. "View From The Plateau", the longest track on the record, is another guitar odyssey, going from adventures in feedback to psychedelic swirling in a catchy, and simultaneously quirk structure. "Overdrive Over Time" offers a psych-garagey feel intersected by layers of demented guitar effects. It is an ideal Fuzz-tonic Electrictrip that summarises the eclectic attractiveness of the album, and leaves you urging for more of this so easy, magical uneasiness. Overall, Delica's debut has a freewheeling quality; whimsical in it's character, simple in it's relaxed effects. A minor masterpiece! Words by Fernando Naporano.