A silhouette is glimpsed along the wall, stabbing another to death as a pool of dark red blood spreads across the floor, causing a thrill of anguish. This one scene illustrates the 1975 Giallo film “Profondo Rosso” by Dario Argento, master of thrillers, and inspired No Way Records’ significant 5th Anniversary release, adopting the name.
Why such a reference? We guess: the narrative of horror films, so dear to label owner Alessandro Tommarelli ; the Italian reference, representing both the label and some of the artists; the cinematic topic, inspiring musical storytelling and, last but not least, the simple pleasure to give genius director Dario Argento a musical dedication.
Giallo films, getting their name from the cheap, yellow paperback murder-mystery novels, thrived between the 1960s and 70s. These thrillers were synonymous with the suspense, built up by a combination of elements including scenes of shocking horror, gore, stylish camerawork and often striking, jolting musical arrangements. The artists, grouped together in paying homage to this dark cinematic genre in a contemporary light, brought their own suspenseful, climatic build-ups into the picture.
The story, unfolding on the grooves of two 12” presses, is well-described by the label as an “anthology of pure physical techno, defined by dark and crepuscular atmospheres”. Nostalgic melodies intertwine with the spacey, gliding flow brought forward by Dj Datch, with sounds characterised by extensive use of analogue and modular hardware in “Asteroide”. These melodies could be reminiscent of murder mystery theme music which had viewers glued to their screens at opening credits throughout the years. A similar floating feel flows into Andrea Cossu’s “Plagale”, with the mysterious melodic tune becoming more significant, also growing in tension.
Imagination runs loose as the rest of the tracks unravel. “Triptolemus” by Ness leaps into urgency as the fast-paced hat stabs overflow into a pulsating beat. Eeriness can be felt in Kryss Hypnowave’s “Re obscure”, with its creepy drone tones, hypnotising and bewildering in their persistent repetition. “New Identity” by Craft contrasts with its nearly too-sweet use of piano and whispering vocals, with the American producer lightening things subtly without removing the general feel of obscurity.
With a distinct source of inspiration for this release, at times, a similar mood from one track to the other is noticeable but rather justifiable. Despite this, the individual artists’ characters come through in interpretation, from Svarog’s sharp use of drum machine, bursting with attitude in bending off-beats, to the grounding peril in Sicarius Hahni’s “Primo Grido”, with its resounding four-to-the-floor pace, to Massa’s climatic layering of sounds in “Alien Dragon”.
In its fifth year, No Way Records exemplifies the transformative force of interpretation through sounds, while conceptualising the classic thriller. The mental process to achieve material from Argento’s masterpiece, which can be transmitted on contemporary dance floors, continues to pulse strength into the potential of creating interesting content, predicting a bright prospect for the Italo-Swiss label.