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(44:58, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Mr. E 0:43 2. Anni Zero 4:41 3. Chiedilo a Stefano 8:26 4. Lane Non Ti Dimentico 8:48 5. Un Posto per Morire 4:52 6. Il Futuro 7:01 7. Victor 5:07 8. La Sua Lane 4:49 LINEUP: Marco Lamberti – pianos; guitars, contrabass Giovanni Rossi – guitars; harmonium Paolo Bergese – drums, percussion Francesco Alloa – ?
Prolusion. The Italian band AIRPORTMAN was formed in 2005 and has issued five albums since then. All of those, including this one, “Nino e l’Inferno”, have been reviewed on this site.
Analysis. Well, the prolific Airportman is back again. As before, the style is quasi acoustic ambient music, understated and quieting, at times of distinctly symphonic, at times of quasi jazz-fusion quality, but never really jazz-like. On the other hand, although not dissimilar from the band’s previous albums, “Nino e l’Inferno” seems to take the minimalist approach even further, featuring no extra chamber instruments, unlike its predecessor from 2010, and the arrangements are scanty and austere practically throughout. The disc is made up of eight tracks, of which the one that it begins with, Mr. E, weighs zero as music, since a cycled piano ‘solo’ is everything it contains. The following three pieces, Anni Zero, Chiedilo a Stefano and Lane Non Ti Dimentico (which is the only track here that comes with vocals or, to be more precise, male vocalizations), all use acoustic – and I mean only acoustic – guitar and piano as central instruments. The music is symphonic Ambient, and would be fine if we view it within the idiom. However, in case it’s considered from a progressive perspective, the verdict will be different, since it consists of a few simple themes played over the drum parts, which are always of the same pace in turn. There is no proper thematic development or compositional progress here: simply a series of musical landscapes that the band merely paints, meaning without any investigation of those. The repeated piano and guitar motifs hypnotize, while the drums and (sometimes) contrabass walk at a leisurely pace. This stuff may bring to mind Wapassou – if you drop that down a few levels in both progressiveness and sonic saturation, replace the violinists with a drummer and allow the piano player to do at times lazy improvisations. The other four tracks, Un Posto per Morire, Il Futuro, Victor and La Sua Lane, all additionally involve electric guitar (switching from an acoustic to electric one, to put it in a more precise way), plus there is a harmonium on the first of them and, in its final section, something that does remind me of cello in sound. This is the best composition in the set, a well-developed musical entity that even evokes Art-Rock in places. I believe I can with a light heart omit analyzing the remaining three tracks, because in terms of quality, the album develops by a sinusoid. I’d even say it has a pronounced sinusoidal character in this respect, reaching a culmination on its fifth/last described item, while its ‘frontier’ pieces are the weakest ones, and so on.
Conclusion. “Nino e l’Inferno” is yet another dreamy, tranquilizing affair by Airportman, and what’s surprising, after hearing all of the band’s creations, is the lack of variety of styles among them. I realize that the marriage of minimalist, ambient and quasi-acoustic music isn’t an everyday occurrence, but the band doesn’t grow compositionally, bringing to mind an idea of protracted stagnation. So far, I can recommend its work only to fans of ambient music, whereas those into the progressive rock genre should look elsewhere. Please note that Olav, my only workmate on the site, has a different vision of the matter.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: March 5, 2012
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