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Airportman - 2007 - "Rainy Days"

(47:01, Lizard Records)


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TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Awakening 3:52
2.  Reflecting 3:32
3.  No Care 3:57
4.  Heavy Keys 3:27
5.  Journey 3:34
6.  Dont Look for Me 3:10
7.  Belonging 2:55
8.  Eve 3:45
9.  October 5:00
10. Dont Know Why 2:38
11. Dont be Amazed 11:09

LINEUP:

Marco Lamberti  contrabass; guitars; fortepiano 
Giovanni Rossi  guitar; harmonium
Paulo Bergeze  percussion
Marco Oliva  drums 
With:
Rosanna Johnson  vocals  
                                           

Prolusion. AIRPORTMAN is a studio project from Italy. The same four musicians, who recorded Off (2006), have now come up with Rainy Days, their sophomore release.

Analysis. Figuratively speaking, it is the first two musicians from the lineup above, Marco Lamberti and Giovanni Rossi, who carry most of the weight of this recording on their shoulders. Paulo Bergeze and Marco Oliva are each only featured on six of the discs eleven tracks, at most, which Im sure about because none of the other five pieces contain percussion instruments, besides which drums are quite rarely deployed overall unlike the tambourine, cymbals and chimes. Next, its the turn of Rosanna Johnson, who is heralded as a guest singer. In fact I dont hear her vocals anywhere on the disc, unless she possesses a pronouncedly masculine voice, a feature of Dont Know Why the sole song here, with only a distich as lyrics, just repeated a few times. Okay, most of the pieces reveal in places a female speech thats usually not unlike the one reporting about departures and arrivals in airports, but I wouldnt believe the band invited a singer so as to later process her voice and make it sound semi-robotic, instead of using a prepared recording. Save for the discs opener Awakening (an ambient piece involving a drum machine), the music everywhere represents a combination of acoustic and electric textures, contrary to the projects first effort, and is completely coherent, usually being dominated by acoustic instruments. Nevertheless, while one of the main aspects of Airportmans previous work (namely, well, a kind of experimentalism) seems to have lost its validity now, the other, minimalism (not to be confused with classic Minimalist music with its multi-layered sonic constructions), remains and dominates. I dont find any necessity to detail each of the remaining tracks, as all of them are quite similar in both style and sound: invariably slow-paced tunes, laid back and contemplative, basically either bi- or tri-thematic. The acoustic guitar (played mostly finger-style) generates a primary melodic line that is ornamented with the electric guitars (still fairly simple, always fluid) solos, plus theres usually harmonium which, although serving mainly as a chordal instrument, exerts some sense of drama into the pieces, thus somewhat variegating their emotional background. The contrabass and piano only appear on four tracks, and only briefly on those. Already the title of the concluding piece, Dont be Amazed, sounds like a warning, and there is a pitfall indeed. This is quite a long track, but its mid-section, lasting for no less than 5 minutes, offers the listener to lend an ear to a silent, monotonously humming synthesizer effect.

Conclusion. Compared to its predecessor, Rainy Days is overall a much more cohesive recording, but is at the same time plainer and therefore much more predictable as well. Despite its quasi-acoustic architecture, the album has a certain cinematic sense, generally coming across like the soundtrack for a documentary film, perhaps with drawings of nature. If the groups aim was to make unobtrusive background music, then this effort is definitely a success.

VM: April 7, 2008
The Rating Room


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