*** by BOOMKAT (UK)
"A devastating collaboration between Jackie-O Motherfucker frontman Tom Greenwood and the My Cat Is An Alien duo Maurizio and Roberto Opalio along with friend Ramona Ponzini, Black Magic Disco is a journey into pure dense spiritual drone. You might think you've had enough of drone, especially if you already own a large proportion of either JoMF's or MCIAA's catalogue but there's always a reason to own more, especially when it's documenting something as monumental as this. You see Greenwood asked the MCIAA brothers to join him for a two month tour, and of course they obliged, but rather than just touring it was inevitable that the group of musicians would end up jamming together. They ended up actually performing their collaborations live, and this disc (made up of four long tracks) is taken from the oodles of recordings they managed to get on tour. So it's entirely possible that 'Black Magic Disco' will never happen again and that's why you've gotta jump on board as soon as you can. We have doomy drones, crumbling ambience, bowel churning bass, whispering clouds of intense noise and some rather offputting spoken-word all thrown in for good measure, and the result is like a spiritualist meeting with Ozzy Osbourne and fighting about the rights and wrongs of Green Tea. Not something for everyone, but if you're into your bells and drones then you can't miss it..."
"The Great titled Black Magic Disco is a new collaboration between the Opalio brothers of My Cat Is An Alien, Tom Greenwood of Jackie-O Motherfucker & Ramona Ponzini of Painting Petals On Planet Ghost, Praxinoscope- this finds the Opalio brothers swaping space bound world for more surreal earthbound improv freefall, with maybe the odd trip to a creaking retro space station.
The collaboration offers up a very dense sound picture with Greenwood's warped blues guitar work mixing with the Opalio's brothers' more gentle tinkling sound craft and lifting to the skies guitar sails. Greenwood also mixes inventive often bizarre turntable work, and Ramona's Japanese vocals & chime pitter-patter. It seems you've tuned into some strange radio station- that as well as offer up hazy and in and out of focus surreal sound worlds, also brings to mind slow dancing figures in strange melted neo light/ half- light rooms. Their faces smudge out, their limbs moving in slow blurred motion - a between realties dance floor, clearly the Black magic disco. The album split into four tracks with each track lasting around the 20 minute mark, and each having this floating /morphing seemly total free vibe. Ideas and elements slide by join together then slip apart once more- weird turntable cinematics & world music chants hover, murky psychedelic blues guitar craft surfaces and dramatics, tinkling and soothing chimes and toys swim in the air, mystical female vocals and chatter, vertigo inducing guitar folds and whine. Really you don't know what they'll slide into your ears next
This debut is a wonderful free, oddly comforting and strangle sensual piece of drifting sound work primed perfect to tune in and drop out to. Letting you freefalling through Black Magic Disco strange half realties."
"Collaboration between Roberto & Maurizio Opalio
(My Cat is an Alien), Ramona Ponzini (Painting Petals on Planet Ghost
/ Praxinoscope) and Tom Greenwood (JoMF) and one of the finest things
any of them have been involved in. This is a fantastic piece of cosmic
improv with so many elements merging to create something magical: the
Opalio's space-bound electronics, percussion and guitar-manipulation,
Ramona's Japanese vocal whispers and bells and Tom Greenwood switching
between psych guitar and slipping world music samples into the murky sound
with dramatic effect. Highly recommended."
*** by S. Kobak, July 2007, TINY MIX TAPES
"Listening to My Cat Is an Alien is like staring at a painting. Sometimes it takes a lot of contemplation to fully comprehend and respect the work. Like a Dali painting, the brothers Opalio occasionally throw a blend of exotic, surreal sounds into the listener's ear, creating hallucinogenic soundscapes. Other times, the Italian band constructs meditative drones that, much like a Jasper Johns painting, appear one-dimensional and effortless on the surface but contain a great deal underneath. Of course, uninspired garbage sometimes lies beneath the surface also. Like Andy Warhol, My Cat Is an Alien straddle the line between commodity and art, producing multitudes of albums in short editions, some carrying $100 price tags on their initial pressing.
Likewise, Jackie-O Motherfucker channel the same stratosphere within their vast discography, and it came as no surprise when JOMF appeared on the third installment of MCIAA's From the Earth to the Spheres series. JOMF frontman Tom Greenwood once again joins forces with the brothers Opalio for a European tour as Black Magic Disco, a project also featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ramona Ponzini. Their self-titled disc documents the tour for those of us who couldn't make the journey. At a daunting 79 minutes, it showcases all the aforementioned modes of the band's music while remaining surprisingly fresh.
The four long passages on the disc sound exactly like a MCIAA/JOMF hybrid, exhibiting a tendency for high-art drones and soundscapes as well as splatter-art improvisation. Each jam begins with spacey landscapes and wanders through logical but transformational territory until the listener can't recall the roots of the song. Often, the band explores multiple genres within a single piece. Although the disc slips in and out of hypnotic passages, testing the listener's patience with singular tones and barely-moving industrial drones, their deep, improvisational treks conjure many interesting moments, and the band transcends the "side-project" label by summoning a style all its own.
The second track perfectly exemplifies Black Magic Disco's power by blending each improviser's respective musical background and mapping the area between. Their sound eclipses into an orgasmic peak when Ponzini gently whispers while the Opalio brothers transmit sci-fi drones and Greenwood molests his guitar. Black Magic Disco delve too far away from the satellite at times, but Ponzini lures them back to the space station with her shouted enchantress vocals, refocusing the band. After these sometimes lengthy lapses in vision, the band reconvenes with glorious results. A single note on a guitar and turntable reverb lull the audience for awhile on track one, but soon chiming guitars (reminiscent of early Sonic Youth), industrial percussion, and classical and tribal samples meld together, rebirthing the wonderful head-trip.
Overall, Black Magic Disco present an album of opposites. The band defies expectations by refusing to become another disposable New Weird American relic, yet many people will ignore this project, as My Cat Is an Alien have already graced stereos with multiple releases this year. Their music is self-important and innovative, but it morphs into background music during some passages. If you're in need of household decoration, throw Black Magic Disco on at your next cocktail party and your guests will praise your tasty new wallpaper.