** by Tom Ridge, 2008, The Wire (UK)
"The Italian brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio have released a huge number of recordings under their My Cat Is An Alien name in their fearless pursuit of freeform dissonance and vast, abstract space rock. On the aptly titled Cosmic Debris series, originally released as very limited editions in vinyl form, they are cast as both performers and curators, sharing each of these three discs with artists whose own pursuit of noise ranges from the artistic to the cathartic. Each volume is divided into roughly 20 minutes per artist (one side apiece on vinyl), which on the one hand is a constraint, but on the other streamlines and focuses each performance.
So on Volume I, Text of Light's "033103 Paris" seems to cut in some time after the start with a clatter of percussion and a surge of noise. Originally convened to provide live, improvised soundtracks to the films of Stan Brakhage, this ensemble, consisting of Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, Ulrich Krieger, Dj Olive and Tim Barnes, explode with a formidable combination of free jazz skronk, seismic percussion, tonal drone and searing guitar noise. A lone female vocal sample towards the finish drifts in as if from another world, one quite alien to this blasted terrain. The accompanying My Cat Is An Alien track begins with sparsely deployed percussion, keyboards and guitar drones then builds into an insistent, trancelike piece of chanted repetition.
Volume II showcases California's Steve Roden on guitar, whose two tracks lie somewhere between tonal experiment and Ambient minimalism. His E-bowed drones and fragile picking sound elegant and poised but come also with a sense of dreamlike detachment. The Opalios' "Everything waves like cosmic debris" rather overshadows Roden's delicacy with its near cosmic sense of vastness, like Tibetan Buddhist chanting colliding with Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna". It's an astounding display of improvised brinkmanship, teetering on total collapse but somehow staying its own umpredictable course.
Finally Keiji Haino makes himself emphatically heard on Volume III, and you can't help but wonder if the Opalio brothers have been overambitious in pairing themselves with him when he's on this kind of form. Progressing from a maelstrom of sibilant, howling electronic noise to an extraordinarily physical form of screened and barked vocals, his performance is absolutely spellbinding. After this, the final MCIAA track, "Everything crashes like cosmic debris", seems at first a bit anticlimactic, but the dense swirl of siren calls and deep reverberating noise drones builds to a satisfying finish: a bold summation of the duo at their intense best."
** by Tom Sekowski, Dec 2007, Gazeta (PL)
"Ever productive Opalio brothers - aka My Cat is an Alien - continue their involving Cosmic Debris split Art-LP series with a couple of new releases. [MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / STEVE RODEN Cosmic Debris, Vol.II - MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / KEIJI HAINO Cosmic Debris Vol.III]
First up is a shared album with audio/video artist Steve Roden. Two tracks that Roden contributes to his side of the LP are some of the most self-contained, some of the most inside stuff I've ever heard him do. You can actually hear Roden play distinct riffs on his guitar, while the instrument is engulfed in a variety of field recordings [some sort of birds and bell-like sounds]. The second track "My Dog is a Yufo" even features Roden play actual melodic harmonies, which in itself is worth the price of admission. Entirely pensive, Roden's music is enticing and glows with a warmth of a radiant campfire. While MCIAA's track "Everything Waves Like Cosmic Debris" starts off in a pensive fashion - some chants and bells - in a span of twenty minutes, it moves into un-chartered territories of more serious proportions. Once guitar comes into play, and the chants get a tad more spooky, the sustain is put to good use, and some really freakish drones come about.
Next up is Japanese guitar guru, Keiji Haino. On the 22 minute "Whither goes it?/That which canst not but be described/As my prayer/Nowhere held in common/Lunatic,unknowable?", Haino starts off with a wall of thick slabs of guitar drench he's known for. Midway through the piece, he slows things down and starts a ranging concoction of yelps of anguish, feedback and agony. In this relaxing atmosphere, the piece rolls on until its natural death. MCIAA's "Everything Crashes Like Cosmic Debris" starts off gently enough - only a few percussive squabbles, some hints of guitar manipulations and some utterly bizarre chants. Things progress rather quickly, as the duo descent into the deeper realm of space, with intermittent walls of feedback, cosmic overtones and space-debris percussion hitting the listener from every direction imaginable. The phaser moonbeams signifying the piece's end are a perfect concoction of space bliss, announcing future installments of the Cosmic Debris series. Next up, watch for split albums from Mats Gustafsson and Loren Connors."
** Boa Melody Bar (UK)
My Cat is an Alien / Steve Roden - Cosmic Debris Volume II - Two pieces from Californian sound-artist Steve Roden: "E-bows and Rainbows" features the horizonless singing-tone-shimmer of the e-bow and the distant tremor of hushed communications, the second "My Dog is a Yufo" sounds like a surprisingly unmanipulated piece of quiet guitar playing. Roberto Opalio's disembodied vocal float opens the MCIAA piece, with Ramona Ponzini (Painting Petals on Planet Ghost) contributing this time on Japanese bells. Gradually the vocals are engulfed by a blanket fog of echoing guitar drone - MCIAA's cosmic drone at its most contemplative.
My Cat is an Alien / Keiji Haino - Cosmic Debris Volume III - Keiji Haino opens the disc with a veritable cosmic blast of howling, anarchic electronics, recorded live in Japan 2005. Later in the piece the squiggling guggling electronics are joined by pounding neanderthal drums and Haino's unique strangulated vocals which could peal paint at 100 yards! The MCIAA track is also a live recording and the sound is at its most full-on with disembodied vocals, echo-laden guitar and toy percussion layered into a moon-orbitting mass.