Carla dal Forno, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Thursday, 2 February 2017

You Know What It’s Like, Carla dal Forno’s bleak and ominous debut solo album, is an isolating listen. The Australian resides in her nightmarish songs like a spectral, half formed memory, intertwining with found sounds and hypnotic, lo-fi beats.
 
Performing at Sticky Mike’s on the first night of her UK tour, she appeared alongside a synth-player introduced to the audience only as Mike. 
 
As glitchy samples and synthetic rumbles got the set underway, dal Forno glanced at the crowd as if to corroborate reality. Tinny, fragmented noises clattered jarringly with increasingly regularity, submitting like hopeless electronic ghosts to the motion of dal Forno’s insistent bass.
 
Although employed sparingly, her reverb-soaked vocals bore unmistakable resemblance to Nico’s despairing tone, while the starkness of her music recalled Joy Division at their most gloomy.
 
A silent, static crowd contributed to the prevailing eeriness, transfixed by a performance that engulfed the room like a supernatural fog.
 
Fast Moving Cars and What You Gonna Do Now offered evidence of an artist capable of producing songs in the traditional sense, in addition to a distinctive aesthetic.
 
Amidst talk of apocalypse in a politically unstable world, there was something strangely reassuring about the Freudian death wish of dal Forno’s nihilistic, post-apocalyptic goth.
★★★★
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Carla dal Forno
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