Situated in the soundworld of contemporary kosmiche electronica, Of Sirens Born goes several steps further than many retro-focused efforts, rendering audibly literal the traditional metaphor of voyage that has underscored so many synth-driven concept albums. Beginning tentatively and uneasily, these five pieces progress through expansive phases of grandeur and menace, shipwrecking before washing ashore on a new world. At the core of the work is the idea of the imaginary vista; high, keening drones issue from the heart of unknown rivers, populated on all sides by fantastically twittering creatures and alien flora, drawing the listener on with the hint of exotic treasure, hidden within forbidding and impossible jungles.
Raglani drew the vocabulary of his sonic imagery from film (The New World, Aguirre) and the early Nonesuch documents of 'world music' (especially Peruvian and Andean folk music), distilling from these the dreamwork of epic travel and the alien strangeness of other cultures imagined through legend. Song forms are dissolved here, but still present; electronic and acoustic sources blend seamlessly into majestically glittering waves. Though its indebtedness to the dark romanticism of krautrock is clear, this is not an electronic trip through well-worn evocations of cosmic space. It is rather a story about the submerged memory of mythic voyages, of a time when every far-off destination was alluring, dangerous, and questionably real, envisioned from the perspective of a world well-mapped and conquered by machines.
Joseph Raglani is a veteran of the experimental sub-underground, having released an LP, tapes, CD-R's, and small-run CDs through labels such as Gameboy, IDES, Kvist and his own Pegasus Farms. This is his first widely distributed release.
"Laced with fractal psychedelic guitar and field-recorded nature noises, Raglani's songs feel like futuristic shoegaze, created by artificial intelligence in the post-human wilderness." Riverfront Times
"Joe's on my short-list of people for whom I have high hopes..." Keith Fullerton Whitman, Mimaroglu Music
"It's enormously comforting in these superficial silly sound bite times to hear an album that works clearly and unambiguously with tonal harmony without sounding fake, plastic, twee or ironic." Paris Transatlantic