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Black Sun Productions - operettAmorale

Previous Black Sun Production releases were disparaged and criticised in some quarters, including us. Black Spider Thing, a series of authorised remixes of Coil material for ritual purposes, was regarded as uninspiring and Astral Walk, their first full release of original material drew so heavily on Coil it was almost a pastiche. That operettAmorale is so good and strikingly original is a real triumph for Massimo and Pierce, the duo behind Black Sun Productions.

For a number of years Massimo and Pierce were both sexworkers, and at one point operated their own sex club in Zurich. They've since ceased their activities in prostitution but operettAmorale based on the poetry of Bertholt Brecht has provided a conduit for Massimo and Pierce to explore and explain their experience of prostitution. The recording and ideas behind operettAmorale has been germinating for a number of years permitting Massimo and Pierce the time to refine and select the tracks in order to tell their own story.

Throughout operettAmorale they've enlisted the help of a number of friends - including Lydia Lunch, HR Giger and Coil - but ultimately operettAmorale is the vision of the Black Sun boys. Along with Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (of (r) and Larsen) they've updated the early German period music with orchestration and flourishes of electronics but maintained the overall atmosphere of decadence of early 20th Century Berlin. The introductory track, 'Brothel Tango', with its sweeping and weeping strings and accordion swirl performed by the Slow Club Orchestra exemplifies this succinctly. The seediness continues with 'Pimp Ballad' where Massimo and Pierce provide a filthy, hilarious account of their prostitution days over pumping accordion and electronic bleeps and tones. The soft keyboard stabs, over electronic hum, with passages of orchestration on 'Seeräuber-Jenny' is a haunting backdrop to the voices of Pierce and HR Giger, who recites a favourite Brecht poem from his adolescence. The following track 'Johnny Over the Sea' is even more strange, as a disturbing whisper is placed over a floating atmo-drone, with flurries of crunchy electronic textures. Even when they play it straight as they do on 'La Canzone Dei Pendagli Da Forca' where Massimo's deep mournful voice resonates over piano accompaniment and cawing crows the result is effective in its simplicity.

Of the contributors Coil provide the most memorable. 'A List of Wishes' is Coil at their most playful and accessible. A gentle lilting keyboard over fleeting textures and tones, with an aching cello score. Jhonn Balance is in fine vocal form as he delivers an oddball assortment of modified Brecht poetry ever so slightly treated. This represents one of Coil's final studio works. It's clear that the world is a poorer place following the death of Jhonn Balance, and demise of Coil. Lydia Lunch's vocal delivery over the fragile drone and tinkering electronics of 'The Ballad of Sexual Dependency' is just too forced, too self-aware. It's the weakest track on an otherwise coherent album.

The spiralling theatrical score of 'Ballad von der Hollenlili' based on Kurt Weill's score is wonderful, even seamlessly integrating the voice of Lotte Lenya beside the gushing vocals of Pierce. Along with 'Pimp Ballad', and 'Brothel Tango' it evokes the Weimar period quite beautifully. 'What Keeps Mankind Alive' is a catalog of human desires set against a fragile drone and fluttering electronics. operettAmorale is a great record, and is certainly recommended. For more information go to or