An exclusive Pure review by Frank Cotolo

Steve Iannetti

 

It has been a while since I have been able to enjoy music by “seeing” it. Certainly a while in the rock genre. When I used to produce disco radio shows in the late ‘70s I would often sit in a dark studio and stare into the screen of a graphic equalizer and watch the lines pulsate to the beat. Often, I was not in my right mind, if you catch my drift, but none the less it was a visual as well as audible experience.

Listening to Steve Iannetti’s The Genius Of Nasty, I sat watching my WindowsMediaPlayer screen, set it on Ambiance: Random and wham, I was somewhere else. I closed the lights and watched and listened.

The screen, the darkness around me, electronically painted Iannetti’s music and I was, in my right mind this time, flying. Fourteen tracks worth. Hypnotized. It gets so you can close your eyes and see the music while listening, in your mind’s eye. That is what Nasty does to you.

This is a CD rich with an electronic theme, blended and woven with Iannetti’s whirling guitar licks and his vocals, forever rippling in effect. No, we are not in Frank Zappaland here, we are in Iannetti’s “nasty” world, where order comes from chaos and melody slides around like a smooth snake down a rocky mountain. Contrast complements the colors of songs like Bite Down Hard and I Wish You Would, electrified by an original soundscape Iannetti is loyal to throughout the CD.

Still, he wanders into interesting areas of chaotic splendor, like in Red Letter Day, where he plays a sort of surf guitar inside of a tidal wave of sound, echo, reverb and vibrating flesh.

The songs develop meaning, even though the lyrics are tough to follow for all of Iannetti’s vocal effects. Using his voice like an instrument inside of this whirlwind of sound is a balancing act that doesn’t grow old, just more interesting. It may take you a few songs to settle into this “groove,” but once you are there the ride is almost psychedelic—at least it accomplishes a reasonable affect on the senses.

Steve is a fine guitarist and when you hear some of his work outside of Nasty you can understand his concept within the collection of tunes. Not to say this is a “concept” work, in the old sense of such a thing, but it is to say there is a unity that emerges and relies on the length of the whole, not the product of its parts.

Even with the gritty, bluesy Where Were You and the dreamy Yeah, Right, Iannetti is focused while being flimsy and gathers his song parts with exactitude to deliver each piece with a confident blow.

Try it. Rev up the WindowsMediaPlayer, turn the lights off, turn Nasty up and go where Iannetti takes you while watching the fuzz, the sparkle and the ragged colors. Eventually you will be taken “somewhere.” And when you are there you won’t need to be prompted by an electronic gauge; you will be guided by the genius of nasty Steve.  


03.01.2002 ChapmanJames about Steve Iannetti


Iannetti renovates classic arrangements into a fusion of unique porportions. 



When I first heard Steve on the web I was honest with him... not my preference in vocal styling. I was blunt, "you use too much delay!" which is surprising coming from a critic like me that by and large feels that arrangements are likened to different frames one chooses to put around the art they are meant to showcase. I went home that evening and listened to him again (not only the offering "Wide Open" showcased here but other pieces located on the web) and I have genuinely changed my mind. Though my attention is diverted from the lyrics upon first listen, upon a 3rd and 4th play, the song showcases the vocals like a lead instrument such as a viol or a lyrical horn. Mike Oldfield has been known to do the same with his guitars, giving them a sound like pipes or fiddles in his works in Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge. Steve is more centered in his presentation and his amalgamation of vocals produce a unique instrument that makes his work truly unique and urges the listener to initiate multiple plays in order to hear different sounds like viewing a painting from different angles at the gallery. The subtle "AppleRecords" sounds in the arrangements are very appreciated as well. Not since Owsley have I heard such creative use of the Fab 4 motifs. This will be one artist to follow over the next few decades. 

Chapman James 
Folk Critic


Steve Iannetti, the independent known also as "The genius of Nasty"
recently presented ten previously unheard songs on his Artistlaunch
page at www.artistlaunch.com/steveiannetti, where he confirms
his impressive skills as a caustic and powerful songwriter.
In "Two Girls" he shows us his melodic vein, both with his neat vocal
work and with the unmistakably Steve-esque guitar solos, where we
can distinctively hear his finest movements on the strings, not to mention
the "strange" guitar notes here and there throughout the song.
Steve clearly wants to kill us definitely with "Picasso Tango", a wonderful tune
which seems to start as an elaboration of "La Cumparsita" and 
where we can appreciate an impressive
work on vocals in the bridge and a very elegant part of bass, recorded
and arranged in a very similar way to XTC’s last works, above all the
descending progressions. 
"Perfect Girl" remix is a step forward on the original song, one of the
falsely "easy" Steve’s songs. On songs like this, Steve doesn’t need
to add thousands of vocal parts or multiple solos, he leaves the melody
speak to the listener and confirm his gift for the "poetry of disappointment".
But Steve is more than this, see the list of exploits he talks about in
"Still Around": "I caught a baseball with my face, Stopped a freight train with my car, Shot a rocket into space, Burnt a big hole in my arm. Don't ask me how, but I am still around. Found a sharp stick with my ass, Had my house burst into flames, I did a slide on broken glass, Too much dope has traveled these veins, Don't ask me how, but I am Still around. I spent the weekend with a ghost, I Stayed awake for 3 years, I met a woman from the coast, She left me bleeding from my ears, Don't ask me how, But I am Still around. Don't ask me how, But I am still around." Steve surprises us treating this point of view about his life
(we all have often felt this way) as a powerful Rock’n’Roll ballad,
guided by a hammering piano and a gorgeous guitar (on the left).
Steve wants us to hate him in "Missed", where he proudly uses a ‘60s organ,
a surf rock guitar and a limping drum pattern (made thus by purpose)
to tell us another of his bitter stories: "Honey take a good look. I'm sick to my stomach, Yeah I'm making myself sick over this, but I find some small comfort knowing I will shine brighter when I am missed". The organ, above all, played in a very original way,
takes us back to a Fab Four-like sound (like in the ‘67 songs made for
"Magical Mystery Tour").
"Face Like A Picasso" is maybe the more complicated and musically
tormented Steve’s song: very typical of his style, features some oriental
like guitar parts and a very elegant bass line which leads us to the
particular atmosphere of the whole tune, about a girl whose
"One eye was looking in my direction, One eye was looking the other way."
Another amazing character in Steve’s personal gallery of monsters, and
Steve has the unique skill of making us love characters like this one.
While "Still Waiting" is another example of Steve’s love songs
(where disappointment and sad feelings are the main part) in
"Long Way From Home" he takes us by the hand in his winter
and makes us feel "chilled to the bone": listen carefully to the guitar
on the right on the ending of the song and you’ll be there with Steve.
"Off The Rails" sounds like a typical Steve’s song at a first listen, but
don’ let his guitars muddle you: here, Steve has a great fun inserting
many Pop elements, like the hypnotic guitar part in the intro (which comes
back in the song after every chorus) and the guitar
insertions in the second strophe (on the left): maybe one of the best Steve’s songs,
complete and very well played.
While "There Is No God" (to be truthful, already heard on MP3.com) is a
strange song, with a powerful drum pattern, a great guitar melody accompanying
the whole song, "Please Come Home" leads us in a slightly different mood,
guided by the light rhythm guitar (on the left) and showing us the great
Steve’s skill in arranging his most heartfelt songs: hear what he does with his
bass in the chorus "Please come home", while we can also here another of
his almost hidden guitar melodies on the left: Steve’s music is made of great
details, but he will never show them to us in the foreground.
A special mention for his little masterpiece "Hell To Pay":
Steve will hate me (he does already any way), but this great, great
song reveals us an unexpected influence by Billy Joel’s album
"The Nylon Curtain" (above all the songs "Laura" and
"Scandinavian Skies"). Of course, this is a typical Iannetti’s song,
where totally different elements follow one another creating a
unique, original and distinctive mood.
As usual, these songs leave us with a bitter
taste in our mouth: the bad and disgustingly sincere
Steve doesn’t care to please us. 
That’s why we can’t help loving his music.

Lord Bygon