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(59:38, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Terminali Source 4:19 2. Discento 5:52 3. Ballrooms 7:34 4. Bottom Sea Engines 7:42 5. Flying Home 7:47 6. Terminali Destination 26:12 LINEUP: Fabrizio Elvetico – piano, synthesizers; bass Gianluca Paladino – el. guitar Pasquale Termini – violoncello Agostino Mennella – drums, percussion With: Rhys Chatham – trumpet (1, 2) Graham Lewis – vocals (3) Mark Stewart – vocals (2) Rossella Cangini – b/v (2)
Prolusion. “I’m Normal My Heart Still Works” is the first outing by ILLACHIME QUARTET, hailing from Italy. Strangely enough, its booklet (which was undoubtedly compiled by its creators themselves) says they’re actually a trio. So, readers, please note that, of the eight musicians whom – certainly not in full accordance to the source – I list above, only the first three are presented there as band members, all being mentioned separately from the others. In short, drummer Agostino Mennella, who plays almost throughout the material here, appears as a side participant. Whether the man quit the group of his own free will or was fired, the remaining musicians should have mentioned him as a member. Otherwise they had to change their vehicle’s name, in my view.
Analysis. This is a very cohesively compiled, i.e. well produced, album. The six compositions it contains are placed in such a way that each of the following ones turns out to be both longer and somewhat deeper than its predecessor. Just logically, the recording begins with its most accessible piece, and finishes with the most complicated one. What also seems to be significant, at least in terms of symmetry, is that disc opener, Terminali Source, and its track-list counterpart, Terminali Destination, both stylistically differ from the core tracks (which, in turn, share more similarities than differences), though only the former is a real standout in this respect. The only one not to feature the drummer, it has a pleasing, sort of magical, sense in places or, to be more precise, within its first and third move, where the predominantly acoustic instruments interact with each other in the manner of minimalist chamber music. The piece’s remainder suits the said idiom, too, albeit not completely, as there are also synthesizer effects which squeak and bubble parallel to the music itself, thus somewhat drawing the listener away from it. (Either the same or similar-in-nature fruits-‘n-broods of electronic devices appear on most of the other tracks as well, but not for long, thankfully, almost in all cases.) The rest of the material lasts for almost 55 minutes, and, if I were about to describe it without going into details, I would with a light heart call it Space Fusion with elements of E-Music and Zeuhl – as its summary style. This review, however, implies a continuation. The two tracks that follow the opening one, Discento and Ballrooms, both have an overall sound favorably comparable to Hawkwind’s “Out & Intake” (the band’s first effort to widely deploy electronics – yes, I like it), though the former is additionally a bit reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles – perhaps because it has a sequenced, i.e. cyclical, synthesizer solo that runs almost throughout it. Only these two contain singing (in English), and I could easily manage without it, as the vocal appearances are fairly fleeting of a sort, adding no new dimension to the music as such. Then follow Bottom Sea Engines and Flying Home, both of which alternate the above Hawkwind-style arrangements with more avant-garde, Magma- and even Zao-evoking ones, as also does Terminali Destination – within its last fourth. The point is that this, monstrously long, epic consists in fact of two pieces, those being separated from each other by a 3-minute pause. As hinted above, it’s the album’s concluding track that crowns it in a way, and, you may believe me, its first three fours are a fascinating listening experience, lasting for about 17 minutes. This will be a dainty dish for any connoisseur of Zeuhl, and those who dig the genre were all born under the brightest progressive rock constellation, to my mind (I don’t care a bit about the zodiac ones, by the way).
Conclusion. Overall, only the use of, hmm, pointless effects somewhat mars the debut by this outfit, and although those are striking only here and there, well, it would’ve been consistently mesmerizing without them. Recommended: fans of any of the aforementioned bands will find something here to enjoy.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: March 20, 2010
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