April 11, 2012

Unheard-Of: Krisma – Fido

Here we have an unexpected nugget of new-wave styled italo-pop from 1983, by Krisma (aka Chrisma), a male/female synthpop duo by the names of Christina Moser and Maurizio Arcieri, fondly regarded in their native time and place (Italy, post-disco), but little-known stateside.

Krisma in 1985 (from "Krismarts")

In addition to the human talent, the real star of this quirky LP is the venerable Casiotone MT-65, an entry-level PCM-based digital synthesizer introduced in 1982 (big brother to the MT-40, of “Under Me Sleng Teng” fame). In fact, the entire album is composed on the instrument, and it can be seen mugging on the LP’s back cover (with hand-wired expansion box).

As one might expect, “Fido” is an in-depth exploration of its crispy crunchy sound palette. Punchy bass, hissing snares, and pocket-caltulator leads are layered and post-processed into all manner of “light industrial” modes. Some melodic sing-song pop ditties , some chip-chopped rhythm-only tracks, and some dark Italo arpeggiations, with plenty of high-minded knob twiddling and external effects to keep things lively. At times the envelope is pushed to borderline Detroit darkness, with flanged ‘hats and bass drum pummelling. Icy boy-girl vocals are the icing on the cake, delivered in phonetic English for a true International Feel. All in all, the closest touchstone to this album would have to be Roberto Cacciapaglia’s legendary “Anne Steele Album”, in terms of sheer technopop exuberance and Italo-futurist vision.