Amusia [album]

Friedhof-magazine.com | 10/10
Algunos poseen la alquimia necesaria para convertir las sensaciones humanas en música, otros solo llegan a hacer música sobre esas sensaciones. Asofy tienen el secreto detrás de estas artes. Esta es la mejor propuesta que he escuchado en lo que va del año, pues jamás el dolor había sonado tan musical.

“Agnosia” es una quebradiza pieza construida a base de susurros y finas capas de guitarra. La tenue propuesta de los italianos sigue con la exangüe “Palinodia”, es cuando pienso que si la palidez se tornara música sonaría así. En sus callejones minimalistas vaga errante una melancolía exacerbada, una helada certidumbre que se vuelve el limitante principal de todo impulso de vida. Tal vez un texto de Emile Cioran describiría con colores más “vivos” este paisaje gris; Asofy en cambio lo logra con su estética sonora renga y huérfana de toda luz.

Este grávido Spleen sigue en la rota y desesperada “Amusia”, que con su trastabillada furia parece sofocar a sus autores. Destacan otra vez los susurros, recurso bastante eficiente. “Residuo” infecta el alma, en este cuadro sonoro se plasma una postal ruinosa y decadente, cotas de miseria parecida solo vi en Psychonaut 4. “Alterazione” parece despabilarnos, pero la anemia sigue y es galopante. Su atmósfera de fondo amenaza al oyente con el noise, pero el tema no se abisma, se mantiene en una prudente orilla sonando como si se tratara de una propuesta gótica de raíces electrónicas.

Asofy no nos ofrece una propuesta descuadrada y exploratoria, es la deconstrucción de un estilo despojado a tal punto que solo queda la esencia y es en forma de copioso dolor.

“Distonia” transcurre casi lisérgica; me trae por momentos a los Anathema más desquiciados. “Allucinazione” se disputa a sí misma con un tempo enfermo que junto con otros elementos computan para el resultado árido y frio del cual hace gala este álbum. “Ricordo” es el epitafio instrumental del álbum.

¿Que está en italiano? No importa, el lenguaje de la música es universal (al menos en esta parte del universo).

¿Black/Doom Metal? Frío, aunque no congelado. No me atrevería a ponerle cercos al bosque, ni siquiera a este que esta criogenizado. Su estilo es simplemente Asofy
(review by: Mariano G.)


Aristocraziawebzine.com
La premessa con la quale mi approccio a recensire l’ultimo lavoro degli Asofy è che sarò onesta, chiarendo fin da subito la mia ignoranza in materia: il progetto di Tryfar — polistrumentista nonché grafico di Avantgarde Music — mi era completamente sconosciuto prima di trovarmi tra le mani il suo quarto disco, Amusia, realizzato in completa autonomia dalla A alla Z. La classica occasione per approfondire e immergersi nel percorso creativo di una band.

Le fondamenta su cui poggia Amusia sono due: a livello tematico tutto ruota intorno al libro Musicofilia di Oliver Sacks, in cui il neurologo ha esplorato fenomeni psico-fisiologici e il loro peculiare nesso con la musica; a livello tematico Tryfar prende ispirazione da una serie di scrittori, principalmente il francese Josif-Karl Huysmans e il suo À Rebours (Controcorrente). Tryfar espande i concetti di Sacks (l’amusìa è la perdita della capacità di riconoscere la natura musicale dei suoni) portandoli su un piano sociale, incrociando percezioni sensoriali con la mancanza di empatia e le difficoltà relazionali in genere.

Il contorno musicale a una tematica così ambiziosa è un azzeccato quanto indefinibile mix di sonorità di cui il black metal non è che una componente minoritaria, qualcosa a cui l’etichetta piuttosto vaga di dark metal calza abbastanza a pennello. Il disco è un continuo oscillare tra momenti più standard e tendenti al doom e parti più destrutturate, in cui sequenze di suoni slegati l’uno dall’altro contribuiscono a creare un ambiente delicato e riflessivo, ma al contempo quasi deviato; sensazioni particolari che trovano probabilmente il loro apice in “Residuo”, un’apparente accozzaglia di strumenti messi alla rinfusa (compreso un pianoforte che rimanda alla prima metà del Novecento) che però centra l’obiettivo, destabilizzando in un certo modo l’ascoltatore e giocando con percezioni sonore eterogenee.

Con Amusia, gli Asofy hanno partorito un lavoro molto interessante che testimonia il valore del progetto di Tryfar più di altri che, nonostante magari una bellezza formale, faticano a comunicare qualcosa. Un disco godibile anche grazie a tracce dalla durata abbastanza ridotta (a parte un paio di casi) e facili da seguire, cariche di emozioni sì negative visto il genere proposto, ma a cui è semplice lasciarsi andare.
(review by: Es)


Metal-Temple.com | 9
Wow.  Just…wow. I’ve been with the mighty Metal Temple since 2016 and one man band ASOFY’s fourth full length album “Amusia,” is quite possibly the weirdest and most unique album I have ever reviewed.  I honestly found the writing of this review to also be one of the most challenging, not because it isn’t a good album (it is a great album, actually) but because of the very nature of what transpires across the eight tracks.  Although it obviously contains music, that music is, oddly enough, not really the focus of the album.

The album is described as Black/Doom and while I suppose that fits it better than anything else that it could be called, it also doesn’t really described the experience contained when the album’s eight track, hour long runtime. Although slow, moody, and melancholy drenched like a good doom metal band should be, the similarities stop there.  There isn’t really any actual riffs or fuzzed out bass to be found here.  I think atmospheric is really the wrong term; abstract works better for this album.  Emotion, mood, and a constant battle between form and chaos are at the forefront, driving the music to its cause.

Typical verse-chorus-verse linear song writing is no where to be found.  The songs truly ignore any conventional formations and walk away from even being off the beaten path to begin with.  In that sense, it is definitely progressive as well but instrumentation wise it is not, at least to a point.  Guitars, bass, and drums aren’t complicated at all and often times come off as taking a simple approach, in terms of presentation and the use of notes and chords.  However, that is where the simple ceases to be a plain of existence to this album.  There may not be any flashy moments  but make no mistake: this album is as complicated as any I’ve heard.  Everything is built upon layers and layers, a living house of music built from the foundation up where every note plays an important part in the overall construction, albeit  that construction is as stark, alien, and even dangerous.

To listen to this album is to truly be transported to another dimension of time and space.  While walking these musical halls, my ears were subjected to songs that I just didn’t understand at first.  This is Doom but ran through a distorted tunnel of sound and reflected from shards of broken glass, whereas each piece of the sharp shards is another hint of what exactly is happening. Despite that, despite all my confusion and trepidation, I stuck with it.  Why?  Because I had to listen to it multiple times to get enjoyment out of it?  Forcing myself to like it for the sake of giving a good review?  Nothing could be further the truth.  Though I had yet to understand it, I knew that I liked it.  Why?  Simple: this  unique album is always interesting—boredom doesn’t exist in this strange realm.   Even when my brain didn’t fully understand yet, the music, and the feelings that came with it, just pulled me through the most odd of rabbit holes.

Over time, I’d say at least half a dozen straight thru listens, every element just clicked into place for me.  I enjoyed it before but now I craved it and found myself unable to stop listening to it.  It kind of puts you into a trance, a sort of out of body experience where you are on the outside looking in. For those who find what I’ve wrote interesting but perhaps not ready to dip your toes into, I encourage you to listen to it, if for no other reason than the bass guitar.  The guitars are beautifully and expertly layered, the drums are well crafted and help grab your attention but it is the bass that keeps everything together.  Most of the time, it is more melodic than sparsely ambient like the other instruments and serves a great anchor to get the songs set up.  I will try to speak a little about some of the individual songs but really unless the album can be heard, I’m afraid my words will mean very little in terms of trying to convey this album.

The album begins with “Agnosia,” a trippy song that seems to have some jazz elements to it, especially with the drums and guitar.  I’ve heard very little jazz mind you but what I have heard goes well enough with this track for me to say so.  The vocals are nothing more than a hoarse whisper, gliding through like ghosts on the wind.  It is unnerving, especially the clean riffs that often accompany the apparitions.

Amusia,” is the title track and, at times, the most approachable despite it being over twelve minutes long.  If I have one complaint about the album is that it could use a bit more focus in places but I think that is why I would suggest someone listen to this song first because the beginning minutes are (slightly) more streamlined than anything else on the album.  Of course, the middle portion of the song throws all that out the window with some very abstract ideas.  However, the last couple minutes of the song are more like the first: something more akin to an actual song and a more clear direction.

Towards the album’s end, we get another epic song at near thirteen minutes in length called “Allucinazione.”  Unlike the title track, there is absolutely nothing conventional about this track.  In many segments, “Allucinazione,” seems to break away from what most would consider actual music and go straight into the territory of what some would call “random noises strung together.”  But there is method to this madness, if one is patient and can allow their minds to step outside the box.

Most doom heads, and fans of metal or music in general, are going to find this album to be more of a challenge than anything they have ever heard.  Simply put, most cannot, and will not, make it through just one of these songs.  I hate saying that because it could make this album seem terrible but I hope at this point in the review, it is obvious that isn’t the case at all.  But I’m also not going to bullshit anyone either and proclaim this is an an album that is easy on the ears and, once absorbed, can be fully enjoyed.  I have spent years upon years discovering new bands within metal/rock, and being a writer/reviewer has only opened up my world more.  But not everyone is like me or has the mind of a critic—but if you do, if you really do like odd music that not only steps outside the box but never had one in the first place, “Amusia” is one hell of a dark ride.
Songwriting: 9 / Misicianship: 9 / Memorability: 9 / Production: 9
(review by: Justin “Witty City” Wittenmeier)


Everythingisnoise.net
Leave reality behind and step into the mysterious depths of Asofy’s new album Amusia, an uncomfortable and fascinating offering.

Asofy is the doom-laden solo project of Milan-based multi-instrumentalist Tryfar. Amusia marks Asofy‘s sixth release since their inception in 2000, a twisted, unnerving world of beautiful guitar layers, melodic bass playing, and breathy vocals, the combination of which becomes something otherworldly and often grotesque. Bathed in gloomy reverbs and sparkling delays, Amusia has an atmosphere of futility and impending existential crisis.

I find this album hard to write about from a musical point of view, as the music seems so secondary to the mood and emotion it’s trying to convey. When I listen to Amusia, it’s all-consuming – the world around me becomes flat and distant. I caught myself, more than once on my initial listen, gazing blankly out of the window at the ashen clouds smeared across the sky, trees bowing to the wind in submission, and dead leaves scuttling along the sidewalk, like husks of tiny animals – looking at it all, but not seeing any of it. Finishing this album is like waking up from a bad dream, with no memory of what happened in it, only a lingering feeling of unease.

Amusia is an abandoned building filled with glimmers of times past, lingering impressions of pain and fear. Sometimes, it feels like a catacomb, a tomb I was born into and will die in, smothered by chokingly compressed guitars, dark reverb, and wheezing vocals; at other times, like on the dreary “Palinodia”, it becomes an abandoned train station, all the wagons deserted, only cold moonlight bouncing off their empty shells.

Amusia‘s title track feels more like running through a hospital at night, bleeding out, the air thick with ghosts in the light of the fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. I scream out, but no one is there, or perhaps they can’t hear me, or are choosing to turn away. The only voices I hear are those of the spirits of the departed, seeping out from under the morgue door. Perhaps I have already ceased to exist in this reality. The thought makes me feel queasy to the pit of my stomach. It’s accompanied by an uncanny sense of having been here before, in another life, or in a dream.

The louder I listen to Amusia, the more it threatens to swallow me and spit me out, a shadow of my former self. It is a deeply disturbing album; at points, I felt my heart physically struggling to convince me that I was still alive and real. It whittles away at my sanity, the breathy vocals seeming like voices at the edge of my mind, the countless layers of glassy guitars intertwining to create a crooked cage. Even when Asofy turn to black metal, creating some of the (surprisingly) more comfortable sections on the album, these are only a slight relief. What makes these sections so unbearable is that, even here, Tryfar doesn’t scream, merely wheezes like a dying man.

I like music that forces me to shut up and listen to it. So often, when I’m hearing a song or an album for the first time, I have a constant narrative in my head, judging, evaluating, putting feelings into words. I crave music that drowns out this voice. In Amusia, I found something even more powerful – it didn’t just silence the appraising voice in my head, it made me want to never talk again, as if it had stolen my tongue. Even writing about it feels like I’m missing the point. Amusia inspired a different conversation in my mind, not about chords, or tones, or melodies, or production; about life, my own existence, the existence of everyone else around me. I don’t feel it has a place in this review, but I’m sure you will experience something similar, should you choose to let Amusia consume you in the way it did me.
(review by: Hanna)


Infernal Masquerade | 92/100
As one of the most fitting soundtracks for weird times, today we have Asofy’s latest release “Amusia”, which takes the listener into a highly experimental and chaotic journey. For nearly an hour, the listener gets transported into this one-man outfit’s world, filled with abstract textures and a highly melancholic atmosphere. If you like weird, this is one of the weirdest (and yet good) of 2020.

Opening with the moody “Agnosia”, we get some Jazzy glimpses with crafty percussions, subtle guitars and trippy vocals. The song feels very free flowing as it progresses between different moods. Continuing with the captivating “Palinodia”, we get a darker and more moody side of the band with minimalist arrangements and very eerie atmospherics. For those looking into heavier and creepier sounds, the album title track has a good kick as it eases into the harrowing madness of “Residuo”.

The madness continues flowing with the faster paced “Alterazione” and its harsh screams, creating a very dissonant combination of calmness and aggression. Our favorite tracks are the improvisational and somewhat jazzy “Distonia” and “Allucinazione”, with this later one having an intoxicating bass guitar line and a certain Post-Rock-ish vibe.

Closing with “Ricordo”, this one-man outfit leaves in a very moody way. As a whole, “Amusia” is a truly unique aural experience that needs more than a few spins to be fully digested. There is nothing really straightforward or dull about this album and this is its biggest strength. If you want to be challenged and transported, Asofy is one of those bands to discover.
(review by: Dark Emperor)


Metalhead | 9/10
Continua quel percorso che deviò verso nuove direzioni con “Nessun Luogo” (recensione qui), un percorso che portava fuori dai canoni black metal verso un’impostazione atmosferica tetra capace di scavare nella psiche, violentandola, evirandola, devastandola. “Amusia”, infatti, è ispirato al libro “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain ” del neurologo britannico Oliver Sacks, trattato sui disordini mentali legati alla musica, qui tuttavia con concetti approfonditi e con testi ispirati agli scritti dell’autore francese dell’800, Joris-Karl Huysman. Album difficile. I primi ascolti possono congelare le percezioni, stupire ma allontanare e sconvolgere. Ma una persistente fede cieca verso l’arte dell’artista che ci cela dietro la one man band, ovvero Tryfar, lasciano progressivamente rivelare dettagli, emozioni, sentimenti ed un travolgente coinvolgimento dei sensi. Basta ascoltare le delicate divagazioni dark ambient di “Agnosia” per elevarsi oltre dimensioni prima inimmaginabili. Decadenza e sofferenza con “Palinodia”, puro sconvolgimento sonoro con la title track, la quale mescola laceranti vocals vicine alla morte con sonorità dal sapore jazz. Pregna di morte “Alterazione”, contorta e ricca di ritmi irregolari “Distonia”. La lunghissima “Allucinazione” si insinua in maniera permanente dei meandri più reconditi della psiche, mentre la conclusiva “Ricordo” esalta un drammatico senso di malinconia. Musica alternativa. Eccentrica. Creativamente stupenda ma torturata da indicibili sensi di colpa, orribili incubi, terribili ricordi dimenticati ed estreme perversioni cognitive. Musica decisamente avant-garde, fuori da ogni logica, da ogni ragionamento prevedibile e da ogni barlume di vita.
(review by: Luca Zakk)


Alekosoul.com
Amusia” è il titolo del nuovo lavoro targato Asofy, progetto dell’artista milanese Tryfar, molto noto anche per la sua opera visuale, fra cui è doveroso citare la collaborazione di lunga data con l’etichetta Avantgarde Music, per ciò che concerne artwork ed altri aspetti di grafica. Ovviamente è proprio dall’etichetta di Mammarella che questo disco, come i precedenti, viene pubblicato, e tale connubio non potrebbe essere più consono e spontaneo, data l’immediata vicinanza e relazione concettuale e stilistica, prima che meramente geografica.

In un momento così cupo, insicuro e incerto, in cui l’essenza stessa della società per come la conosciamo è messa (finalmente?) in discussione dalla pandemia CoVid-19, a cui proprio la Lombardia sta pagando purtroppo un pesantissimo tributo, in termini di vittime, questo album riflette lo stesso ripiegamento interiore e isolamento sociale che tutti stiamo vivendo quotidianamente, delineando una perfetta continuità di senso e sensibilità col precedente “Nessun Luogo” (2017).

Composto in tempi non sospetti per l’attuale situazione globale, “Amusia” trae ispirazione in primis da “Musicofilia” di Oliver Sacks (2007), associando e ampliando il concetto ad un sentire sociale, una difficoltà o persino mancanza di percezione sensoriale, anche relazionale, diffusa e ormai endemica.

I testi sono invece nella maggior parte dei casi tratti dal capolavoro di Joris-Karl Huysmans “À rebours” (1884), opera che, come suggerì Guy de Maupassant, si può definire la «storia di una nevrosi» vissuta da un giovane, nella Parigi fin de siècle. Stanco del rapporto continuo ed estenuante con i suoi simili, il protagonista intende rescindere ogni forma di relazione, per rifugiarsi in una dimensione solitaria e fuori dal tempo.

Attorno all’impalcatura scarna della trama, l’autore dà vita a una complessa architettura compositiva. Grazie a un vasto repertorio di vocaboli ed espressioni, apporta variazioni cromatiche ai suoi periodi, fa di aggettivi e avverbi tocchi di classe con cui realizzare proposizioni fluide, dense, colorite, che veicolano al lettore raffinate sensazioni e permeano l’atmosfera di misticismo cosparso di occulto.

Tali considerazioni possono valere a buon diritto anche per l’album di Asofy, che a livello prettamente musicale riesce a consolidare e valorizzare il proprio approccio minimalista, sempre in bilico fra doom, black e dark-ambient, con una grande attenzione agli arrangiamenti, alla scelta dei suoni da porre in evidenza e alla giustapposizione fra pieni e vuoti, dinamismo e stasi.

Rispetto al disco precedente “Amusia” pare appunto più dinamico e vario, forse perchè meno legato all’impalcatura tipo concept album e più libero di sondare, brano dopo brano, diversi aspetti del rapporto umano con la musica, la sua essenza e/o assenza, a livello psicologico e culturale, come suggeriscono i titoli delle diverse composizioni.

Sfogliando il dettagliato booklet dell’album si comprende quanto approfondita sia stata la riflessione personale sottesa alla lettura delle opere citate, a cui si aggiungono, in una coralità di spunti perfettamente coerenti e ben restituiti all’ascoltatore, Jack London, Natalia Ginzburg, Vilfredo Pareto.

L’opera di Tryfar si conferma dunque ancora una volta come un unicum, a livello nazionale e non solo, per la sua peculiare capacità di non essere solo un (bel) disco da ascoltare, ma un’esperienza vera e propria, da sperimentare mettendo in gioco la propria sensibilità, perchè, come nota lo stesso Sacks:

Siamo tutti in grado (con pochissime eccezioni) di percepire la musica: l’altezza delle note, il timbro, l’ampiezza degli intervalli, i contorni melodici, l’armonia e (forse nel modo più primordiale) il ritmo. Noi integriamo tutto questo e «costruiamo» mentalmente la musica servendoci di molte parti diverse del cervello. A questo apprezzamento strutturale, in larga misura inconscio, si aggiunge poi una reazione emozionale, intensa e profonda.
(review by: Alekosoul)