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(46:20, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. 1 5:30 2. 2 4:10 3. 3 3:43 4. 4 7:26 5. 5 3:58 6. 6 9:38 7. 7 2:39 8. 8 4:27 9. 9 4:49 LINEUP: Giovanni Risso – ? Marco Lamberti – ? Paolo Bergese – ?
Prolusion. AIRPORTMAN is an Italian band that issued their first album back in 2002. Not much info is given about this band: neither on their homepage on the net nor on the sleeve of their 2008 outing "Letters", but as far as I know this is their third full-length studio album, following “Rainy Days” (2007) and “Off” (2006).
Analysis. The first description that struck my mind after listening closely to this venture was challenging, or more precisely, a different form of challenging. Normally this is a word I'd use in the context of describing music either quirky or technical on some level. Not in this case though, the main challenge on this disc is of a much more subtle nature. Acoustic instruments seem to be highly predominant throughout this effort; from time to time there are sounds that may be of an electric nature as well, but as instrumentation isn't listed on this disc I can't really state that as a certain fact. However, of the acoustic instruments used the accordion is the most prominent. Floating, droning sound layers are a key feature provided by this instrument, creating some sort of ambient sonic tapestry for the other instruments to add details to. Acoustic guitars and accordion - again - are the most central instruments in terms of providing melodies on top of the droning sound. Both instruments do so in playing and repeating themes where careful, subtle alterations of the theme and a select few additional notes and resonances conjure almost inaudible melodic differences, setting up a mesmerizing and hypnotic sonic tapestry, which it's easy to get drawn into when listening intently to these excursions. On the longer tracks brief interludes may be inserted, or the theme may change character slightly for shorter or longer periods of time. Whenever the changes occur they don't set up further changes though; the compositions continue being repetitive whenever altered or new themes are explored as well. The aim seems to be to create hypnotic, captivating atmospheres with a strong feeling of introversion. The general mood goes back and forth between dreamy, ominous and psychedelic, where the utilization of percussion and the occasional visit from instruments that sound like oboe and cello to my ears are central in adding those tinges to the compositions - even on the occasions where these added musical elements only appear for a brief moment.
Conclusion. "Letters" isn't a production that will enthrall many listeners. The music is dense, the shifts and changes subtle and easy to miss, and many will probably regard the compositions as repetitive to the point of being boring, while those able to immerse themselves in this droning, carefully executed post-folk-like venture will find this CD to be a musical gem. Not a perfect one, but one able to provide lots of pleasure nonetheless and which contains music quite unique in sound and texture, at least as far as my musical knowledge and experience go.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 17, 2009
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