"Slowly will cover us
The soft dirt of this word "
In the collective memory the 70 years are labeled as one of the most significant decades in the history of both political and cultural change and emancipation of humanity. These were the years in which the cultural fermentation encouraged by the movements of the 60 years was crowned.
Among these we can mention the further emancipation of the rights of women and people of color, the protests against the war in Vietnam and its end, the greater attention to environmental issues, the scandal of the WaterGate, the Iranian revolution, the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, or the death of Francisco Franco. In Albania, on the other hand, communism increasingly increased the isolation doses after the break with the Soviets and the link established with China.
As for art, music in particular, things get complicated because of the various experiments that undergo rhythm, sounds and text. The Rock'n Roll simply becomes Rock. In turn, the Rock is transformed further becoming sometimes softer and sometimes harder: hard rock, progressive rock or heavy metal.
Among the most significant names of this novelty we can mention Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Uriah Heep, The Who, Judas Priest. Furthermore there is the birth of new musical currents deriving from rhythmic-melodic fusions such as funk, disco music, Jamaican reggae and jazz rock.
From the Proto-punk of the 60 years comes the punk rock with famous names like Ramones, Blondie, Patie Smith, Sex Pistols, The Clash, etc. In these years Hendrix, Joplin, at the age of 27 years, Morrison and E. Presley, for the same reason, die a little older. Dylan publishes the long-lived song Knocking on heaven's Door and at the end of the 70 we have his spiritual revival with Christianity after returning to the New Testament texts and biblical characters. Another significant event is the release of Pink Floyd's most important album, Dark Side of the Moon.
In the 1979 comes the ninth album by F. De Andrè, "Rimini", marked by the political disappointments of those years and by the fact that it dealt with the stories of characters who have now become "common places" and often recurrent in his life and in his art as the marginalized people, prostitutes and drug addicts. Another feature of this album is the introduction for the first time of two instrumental parts.
The Mole is a film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, released in those same years. Considered by critics as a cult film and characterized by strange happenings with even stranger characters, The Moleas a whole, it is a film about the search for the meaning of life.
Surely you are wondering what all this introduction has to do with The Aliçka Problem. Actually, it has nothing to do with it, but it no longer matters. We decided to go into these explanations because the album we want to talk about is a testimony of intricate stories, which, just like the pieces of a puzzle, form a complete personal, family, social and above all universal story.
Starting from the format, "Best Music" it's a EP (extended play) which aims to be a cross between the complete album and the Single. The EP was used for the first time by punk and indie groups, currents that influenced Aliçka.
The Aliçka Problem, active for many years, is a German-Albanian group from Mannheim (Germany), formed in the 2008. The members of the group are Julia Aliçka- Berthold (Bass-vocal), Daniel Mudrack (drums) and Joni Aliçka (guitar-vocal).
So far they have released a Demo-CD in the 2010, "Strange periods of our lives should last forever", an album in 2012 titled "Xor" and then the album "Best Music", released on 25 October this year.
For all those who prefer definitions, the boys and girls of the group make shoegaze, post-punk, post-rock, progressive-rock and psychedelic-rock. Among the singers who have influenced them, and they are many, we count P.
F, Dylan, F. de Andrè, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and finally, the devil knows why, Phil Selways (Radiohead). In reality the taxonomy used to define their music does not matter much in their case, since the Post prefix is a sign of a successful overcoming of the currents from which they were influenced.
Already in the album “xor", Released in the 2012, you can see the particular character of their music, compact and dense sounds, joined by the sometimes pleasant plot, sometimes conflicting between the vibrations of the bass and the order that tries to impose the electric guitar. As Joni calls it, "Xor" is their first child, with a futuristic name as an expression of irreconcilable opinions, just like a dialectical process in the form of a spiral that rises creating ever more sublime sounds.
The first song "Train"Is an infinite crescendo that resembles a train, which, leaving the station, continues to increase its speed and then lower it near the next station. The best of tradition has left its mark in this album as well, presenting itself as a fusion of punk and electronic simplicity, without forgetting the hidden sounds that seem to come from behind the scenes and that make one think of high-pitched sounds and post-modern effects by Pink Floyd. The texts remain a mystery to be deciphered.
instead, "Best Music" it's another story, told with an almost parental concern. Since its birth it has assumed the status of a sister spoiled by its creators. A complicated product that derives from a fusion of sounds and various influences, but from which it gets a strong and independent character. Personal stories, and more, that take on the features of the universal, addressing everyone precisely because they refer to moments of life that belong to every human being. The Aliçka problem has been defined by critics as a rare brand of European post-rock.
It is the exotic origin and the multidimensional relations of the elements that they introduce in the music to make them earn this title. The whole album is like a long breath without pauses. It starts and ends as a single song with neurons stretched to the end. Everything looks like an old story told in different shades depending on the tensions that the stories contain within them.
After each crescendo, a key concept of The Aliçka Problem, follows a gentle diminishing that balances the whole melodic and conceptual construct. Very few albums can have this peculiarity, only Dark Side of the Moon meets these criteria.
Another interesting element of this album is its cover, where brother and sister appear, pointing guns against each other, one dressed in white and the other in black, colors that symbolize good and evil.
The album opens with an instrumental track, "Strange periods of our lives should last forever", a reproduction of the 2010 demo, and ending with "White”, Apocalyptic text that speaks of an even more apocalyptic period, this time of the history of our people.
The first chapter of the story, Strange Periods of Our Lives Should Last Forever, a post rock piece mixed with classic rock songs, a breath that gets thicker and more nostalgic than "Breath", The Dark Side of the Moon. The second instrumental piece is also tested in the same perspective of sound release "Raised our 16 children" with the introductory noises that make you think of Speak to Me. Instead "Arabiqum", A mystical and exotic fusion of Post sounds"T"Seems an echo that comes from who knows where in space.
Southern Soldier is the second track on the album. Challenging verses in the form of a poetic denunciation that takes up intricate social and political problems. The song is closely related to the events of 12 March 2009 in Winnenden (near Stuttgart, Germany), where a high school student (Tim K.) takes his father's gun, kills 16 students and policemen and eventually commits suicide.
The tragedy goes further, with subsequent events such as the arrest and conviction of Tim's father, treated as a criminal for not keeping the weapon in a safe place, away from his son. The text seems to have been written by two different people, sometimes from the point of view of the father and sometimes from the point of view of the child. The words of the father:
"If you'd ask me, I would give you,
The right tools to make them bleed.
Bleed 'till their death "
However the reason this song was written, apparently, is not the romantic digression on the world and thoughts of an 17-enne teenager, but rather the writing of some questions about how public opinion (and justice) deals with such complex cases. To what extent is it right for an 17-enne to remain alone, isolated and estranged from history as a criminal who took the lives of 16 people? What is the morality of a society that does not hesitate to give two punches in the face to those already on the ground (the condemnation of Tim K.'s father to 7 years in prison for manslaughter)?
And many other questions, perhaps not strictly associated with the case in question, but which point the finger towards the demolition of family, social or religious structures ... A story that repeats itself, missed rights, not expressed, that try to come to light and that this society, like the previous ones, in one way or another deems it unworthy to be told.
The fourth song, "Milk", Which has a very interesting video clip, is the most aggressive song on the album. In the initial Riffs you can feel an alternative spirit that then changes taking another form to get closer to the refrain. As far as the text is concerned, we hear the imprint of Fabrizio de Andrè in the passage Sally.
The girl with the face like the sun and the shining hair and the impression left by the HM clothes of the young 16-enni who listen to shoegaze from Showdive.
This is the story told by Milk. All written from the point of view of a girl who is living the first experiences of life with all the contradictions associated with them. Sally is very similar, it is always a girl who, far from her family, experiences the entrance ritual in the real world where she meets drugs, prostitution and violence. The female character of "Pillar"Was taken from"One hundred years of solitude"Instead" The King of the Mice "from"The Mole”By Alejandro Jodorowsky.
My mother told me not
To go out in the Woods
With the boys of my neighborhood
Nobody had shown me
All the forbidden things
That girls have to do
Opium is the penultimate song. This title in reality, if you are not careful (like all the titles of the songs and also the title of the album itself) would be detrimental to the entire text. The verses of the song take up a song from southern Albania "O njëzetë and pesë gërsheta". At the beginning of the song you hear a bit of Port-pop style trip-pop, but then the crescendo changes the progress of the sounds leading us into another progressive-rock dimension.
The concluding song of the album is White. Apocalyptic text taken from the poem "Epic of the National Front" (Epopea and Ballit Kombetar) by Shefqet Musaraj. One of the most successful post-war works. A tangle of sarcasm and realistic description of the condition of the bourgeoisie of those times represented by "ballistet" (members of the National Front), who, instead of making history, chose to suffer it and become simple means of the invaders.
Two stanzas of the song:
"Do na mbulojnë
Plehrat and tokës,
Do ngrihen kembet
T'i bien kokës.
T'i kthejme krahët
Mikut që patmë
T'i marrem xhanë
If ndryshe vamë ... "
Slowly will cover us
The soft dirt of this world
The legs will stand up
To beat up, destroy the head
Turn your back to your old friend
Let's take his soul away
Otherwise we're gone away
The only friend we had
You can follow The Aliçka Problem on their official Facebook page
Published on the collective blog Tirana Calling of 8 November 2013. Original title The Aliçka Problem: "Periudhat and çuditshme te jetës tonë duhet të zgjasin përgjithmonë" .
This article was also published in English under the title The Aliçka Problem: "Strange periods of our lives should last forever"
Translated for Albania News by Daniela Vathi