The Lay Llamas Ostro on Limited Edition Import LP
The Lay Llamas consist of the Sicilian-born and raised but now Rome-based duo of Gioele Valenti and Nicola Giunta. For their 2014 debut, recorded in an old-house in the Segesta countryside of Sicily, Valenti and Giunta soaked up the history-imbued environment. The makeshift studio was located alongside the great Temple of Hera that dates all the way back to 6th century BC. "We've been so influenced by the place's mood, with that ancient presence in the air," says Valenti. These recording sessions resulted in a heavily layered album, filled (but not clogged) with various instrumentation from the expected guitars, bass, synth and drums to the more unexpected sounds of Tibetan Bells and Ukulele.
Like any successful duo, harmony and contradiction are equally important artistic traits in their working relationship. Between the two they take in a continent-leaping, platform-splitting array of personal influences that then seeps into their lysergic output. Purely on a musical level there is a joint love of artists such as Ennio Morricone they then split off into the structured and the song heavy (Angels of Light, Nick Drake, Mike Scott) to the rhythmic, both the hypnotic and groove-laden sort (Fela Kuti, Broadcast, Sun Araw, Kraftwerk). Italian tradition plays a pivotal role too with the creeping tones and floating atmospheres of 60's and 70's Italian library and soundtrack music playing a subtle supporting-role.
This breadth of personal influences can be found in the emphasis of Ostro, it's a constantly shifting record, never remaining stuck or fixated on anything for too long. Crossing continents, be it musically, stylistically or physically, seems to be something the pair return to over and over again. "A mystical path to follow," is perhaps the most apt description of Ostro. Whilst the duo work from a shared vision that places keen focus on stream-of-consciousness approaches there really is an ambiguity, an uncertainness and a sense of the unknown, the otherworldly and the mystical when traversing through the vast spheres of the record.