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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Del Venicci preps for 'Haunted Hall' release with 'Contagion'

Earlier this month, Del Venicci unveiled "Contagion," the third song plucked from the group's debut Haunted Hall EP, and given the video treatment. It's the halfway mark, as each of the EP's six songs are slated to receive a visual accompaniment. "Contagion" eschews the haunted tone set by the videos for Haunted Hall's title track, and "Speaking to Snakes" which arrived late in 2013, by exposing secret dimensions hidden within mundane daily routines.

But first thing's first: The reverb and noise factor here is just an illusion, or at least it's not as prominent as it may appear. Give a closer listen to the guitar and the voice in "Contagion," and it's notable just how cleanly each one comes across in what is essentially a jagged collision of singer, guitarist, and principle songwriter Grace Bellury's lush melodies with looped and lo-fi rhythms. It's a defining trait that Del Venicci has honed for Haunted Hall, and the "Contagion" video, directed by Adrian Benedykt Świtoń (Georges Bataille Battle Cry) and Katie Hinshaw, takes shape as a campy, not quite trashy, but ultimately very stylish visual art installation. Various elements come together making up a montage of grainy Super 8 footage, and a kitchen scene where cooking a meal of risotto is slowed to a snail's pace, and sexualized in a wash of distorted visual textures.

There are layers at work here, and the final product, which unfolds without a single cut, takes a constructivist's approach to what is a seemingly wholesome set of images, and replays the pieces behind something of a disruptive, albeit abstract act in the foreground.

So what's the disruptive act? The song is called "Contagion" for a reason, which has something to do with bassist Jonathan Merenivitch, singer and guitarist Ross Politi, and drummer Tyler Walters, whose collective state of suspended animation is disturbed only when Bellury's gently perverse dancing comes their way. After making contact with each one, her motions affect them like a virus as the rest of this dreamlike scene plays out. Finding meaning in these exaggerated, mundane processes is all in the eyes and the ears of the beholder, but casting new light on commonplace routines, and turning the prosaic into something archaic is what it's all about.

Del Venicci, Tantrum, Laughing Eye Weeping Eye, and Amy Godwin play the Mammal Gallery on Sun., Feb. 9. Donations at the door. Be there by 8:30 p.m. for Tarot readings by Laughing Eye Weeping Eye. 91 Broad St. SW.

Del Venicci also plays an EP release party on Mon., Feb. 17 at 529 with Bleeding Rainbow, Hunters, and Sioux City Sue. $5. 9 p.m. 529 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-228-6769.

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