Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving rides the wave of a lifetime on his magnum opus, Good Luck. The London- based Italian artist’s second album for Diagonal is an emotional but fiercely optimistic LP of skewed cathartic dance pop written in the midst of these dark and uncertain times [made perhaps more uncertain by the recent birth of his first son]. It represents the most ambitious album in his own unique catalogue, a discography that features acclaimed work as part of Banjo or Freakout and Kompakt techno duo Walls — plus half a decade spent at the axis of underground electronics via his own Ecstatic label and his recent, raved-up output for Diagonal. This latest record sees Natalizia fine-tuning 20 years of recording and rave experience into a vibrant, pop- ready statement that’s never felt so necessary. It abandons the sensitive streak hinted at on Animals, his debut LP for Diagonal, to pursue a creative hunch for concision and social unity. This new perspective drives the album’s flux of emotions and guides what some may find to be a utopian outlook, wrapping his trademark experimental urges, clever song arrangements and winking edits in a larger narrative: a new system, if you like, that offers a way out of the contemporary condition towards something pure, sweaty and wild. After all, rave ‘floors were conceived for many as a way to forget/abandon the dark undercurrents of late 80s political turmoil. Good Luck does something similar.
The record is constructed as an album proper and follows a novel narrative: from the ego-pinching computer punk of Me Me Me, which jabs it into action, to the new wave thrust of Tool [I Don’t Give A Shit] and the ambient flush of Roll Along With The Pain Of It All [I’ll Text U], Natalizia clearly delights in taking us on a frenzied ride, but he never forgets his fondness for contemporary club culture [see the fulminating iridescent EBM-pop of Where Are We — with Montréalais minimal wave chanteuese Marie Davidson guesting on vocals — or the acidic punk jabs of Watch Yourself].
Good Luck is a thrillingly positive record — like a big slice of pink and blue sponge cake, it’s delicious, sweet, creamy and wonderful. And that’s the thing: even the title feels like a much-needed injection of optimism, a return to the utopian ideals of rave. Contemporary politics / culture / life / love / music / media seem to be infected by a feeling of impending dread — of fear, alienation, division. Perhaps it’s the job of artists to present an alternative vision for the world [and music] rather than simply to reflect one’s reality back into the echo chamber of their own lives. It feels like thereís never been a more important time for a record like this.