Halloween is early this year……fantasy soundtracking returns with his third official full-length, two years after the badass psychodrama of Prophecy of the Black Widow.
Kansas City musician Matt Hill, who returns to Not Not Fun for the release of this fourth album under his Umberto alias, is still searching for a suitably blood-soaked visual counterpart to his glossy electronic work. Hill’s music takes the form of imaginary soundtracks to films that only exist in his mind, primarily inspired by lurid 1970s horror features of wildly varying quality. Last time we heard from him was on the 2012 Rock Action release Night Has a Thousand Screams, an album inspired by a slice n’ dice flick from 1982 titled Pieces. Screams felt like an endgame for Hill’s obsession with the macabre work of Italian composers such as Claudio Simonetti and Fabio Frizzi, ultimately putting him in a position where, three albums into his career, he needed to take those influences and find a musical place of his own to dwell. Confrontations doesn’t exactly leave his giallocore tendencies behind, but it does subtly amp up the Italo disco influence that has crept into the Umberto frame, giving it a brilliant sheen that resembles a shift from fleapit to arthouse.
What instantly distinguishes this new album from the previous ones is its ominous, slow-burn compositional model, building its evil temple brick by brick, basking in the tension of each new chiming, Carpenteresque synth line or monkish doom Om for multiple measures before stirring the next substance into the cauldron. This elegant sense of patience gives the tracks a more oozing, operatic aura; these confrontations aren’t hostile showdowns in the woods but the creeping dread of alien-nation body snatchers infiltrating the populace. Death comes slipping.