Broken Clover Records – 19th February 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Danielle De Picciotto is a true polyartist, as an exhibiting artist, an author, and musician, who has sung with Crime & The City Solution and Space Cowboys. She co-initiated the Berlin Love Parade in 1989 and “The Ocean Club” together with Gudrun Gut, and has been producing music under the hackedepicciotto moniker with husband Alexander Hacke, founding member of Einstürzende Neubauten, for the last twenty years.

The Element of Love, her third solo album, is an intriguing affair, drawing on elements of experimentalism and spoken word and placing them to the fore. It’s a curious hybrid of sparse, droning instrumentation, and narrative pieces delivered quite dryly, with low-key orchestral instrumentation.

For the most part, the backing is subtle, spacious, and there is a palpable sense of distance and wonderment. ‘Is anybody out there?’ she asks, breathlessly, on opener, ‘Sea of Stars’, and the narrative pieces which occupy the album are an interesting blend of postmodernism and mysticism, referencing Harry Potter and more serious magic, as well as a host of cultural touchstones both obvious and oblique. Precisely what the lyrical bent of The Element of Love is, is unclear, but space, superheroes and, as the title suggests, elemental forces, appear to be central themes

Third track, ‘Solitude’ is a murky morass or extraneous noise, a distant grind and an ethereal vocal off in the distance: with its rhythmic industrial gratings it’s reminiscent of 90s Swans and Jarboe. In contrast, the title tracks is a sedate, string-led instrumental that simply exists in its own space and time, while ‘Who Am I’ is more overtly electronic, with dripping analogue notes and a simple beat reminiscent of Young Marble Giants’ primitivism. The majority of the album is simple, minimal, and in many ways the reconstructed sound installation of the record is all there is. On the surface, The Element of Love is very much a wandering around a certain sameness, and it’s not until one spends time and delves into the details that the depths and differences reveal themselves and reveal the range, which lies in the tone, texture, and mood.

For the most part, The Element of Love is swampy and murky and difficult to define in any sense, lyrically or musically – but especially musically, as it hangs in mid-air, undecided about its identity as so many of the common and popular tropes point toward the dimly-lit back of the auditorium. But don’t let that be a deterrent: there is much to discover here.



  1. duskyseasidesparrow says:

    Listening to the first few available tracks and can’t wait for more…thank you

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