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TRACK LIST: 1. Oltre il Tempo 2:16 2. Xenophobia 2:51 3. La Coda di Mr. Freeman 4:57 4. 21/5/81 3:43 5. Flavours 4:50 6. Nonostante Tutto 4:31 7. Fonodipendenza Totale 5:12 8. Mia Zia Frenesia 2:35 9. Frammenti 4:46 10. Soft Imagine 5:30 All tracks: by Free Wave System. LINE-UP: Luca Morandi - piano, organ, & synthesizers Mauro Ravizza - tenor & soprano saxophones Luciano Devietti - electric bass Enrico Morandi - drums & percussion Produced by Free Wave System. Engineered by U. Bertina.
Prolusion. I have never heard of this Italian band before, and my knowledge of them and their creation is close to zero. There is very little information in the CD booklet as well. Nevertheless, I am inclined to think that "Nonostante Tutto" is the only album by Free Wave System.
Synopsis. Although the sound of the CD is excellent in every respect, it seems to me that this all-instrumental album was recorded sometime in the first half of the nineties or even earlier and was just released or reissued in 2004. Well, this is just a remark, which doesn't concern the album as such. The music on "Nonostante Tutto" is notable for immediately perceptible moods and is very emotive and picturesque, which rarely occurs in the works of Jazz-Fusion, which, in its turn, is the central constituent of the album's predominant stylistics. A brilliant, highly original Jazz-Fusion with some, yet, obvious RIO tendencies is presented on Oltre il Tempo, Xenophobia, Flavours, and Fonodipendenza Totale (1, 2, 5, & 7), and with elements of symphonic Art-Rock and Classical music on La Coda di Mr. Freeman, the album's title track, and Frammenti (3, 6, & 9). The first two tracks go as one monolithic piece. Fonodipendenza Totale contains an excellent solo on drums, and each of the latter three compositions feature episodes where passages of piano, flowing out of the context of the band's joint arrangements, are pronouncedly symphonic in character. The main soloing battles are usually developing between bass, saxophones, and either electric piano or Hammond. Surprisingly, the music is more eclectic than a traditionally classic Jazz-Fusion and is just filled with distinctive and immediately recognizable essential progressive features, such as frequent changes of tempo and musical direction, the continuous use of complex time signatures, turns, and twists. The parts of bass set the pitch in most cases. Being excellently thought-out, they are always thematically purposeful, often resembling complicated guitar riffs. In other words, the bass solos have almost nothing in common with pure improvisations, at least on the said tracks, the music on which is both sensible and appreciable throughout. The remaining two compositions: 21/5/81 and Soft Imagine (4 & 10), being closer to a swingy, pronouncedly improvisational Jazz-Rock, may sound less impressive for any confirmed Prog-head, and yours sincerely is one such example. Nevertheless, these tracks have their own merits and, whatever one may say, they're excellent - in their own way.
Conclusion. As implied above, the music of Free Wave System can hardly be subjected to direct comparisons. Nevertheless, I will name a few works. Try to imagine something between Soft Machine's "VI", Zao's "Kawana", and "Moroccan Roll" by Brand X. Does this 'sound' OK for you? If so, "Nonostante Tutto" might be much to your taste.
VM: May 26, 2004
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