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(38 min, Metal Mind)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rivestire la Voce-I 6:01 2. Rivestire la Voce-II 3:23 3. Rivestire la Voce-III 4:51 4. Rivestire la Voce-IV 2:39 5. Rivestire la Voce-V 9:50 6. Rivestire la Voce-VI 11:22 LINEUP: Marco Tuppo - electric guitar; programming Andrea Albanese - ac. guitar; programming Luca Boldrin - keyboards; flute Adriano Barbiero - electric bass Davide Gazzato - electric violin With: Raffaello Regoli - voice Franco Fagotto - voice
Prolusion. "Rivestire la Voce" is the third CD by Italian outfit NEMA NIKO. Since their previous release "La Storia dell'Uomo che Incontro se Stesso", the lineup has steadily expanded, until obtaining the form of a quintet, plus there are two guest singers on this their new album. Unfortunately, none of the newcomers play drums! Thankfully there is relatively little programmed percussion here, while a drum machine threshes only on the last piece.
Analysis. All the tracks on "Rivestire la Voce" are presented as parts of the suite that has given the CD its title, most of them fluidly flowing from one to another without a pause. Non-surprisingly, the music doesn't evoke associations with Nema Niko's debut effort "Mio Scialbo" (their only one with a real drummer), lying not far away from the project's previous habitat but excluding a voice component. No narratives here. Instead, five of the six pieces are rich in vocalizations by both invitees, one of whom tries to imitate a bass singer, and another a tenor. In most cases, their singing is either anecdotic or is just a clownery, so I perceive it as extravaganza at best - although I won't forget to mention any exceptions to that rule. On the first two parts of the suite, Nema Niko get deeper and deeper into the maze of their abstract researches, much more often experimenting with sound than performing composed or even semi-improvised stuff. Electronic equipment was certainly used. While the real instruments, namely electric guitar, bass and synthesizer, seem to dominate, they are so heavily processed and filtered that they sound as if being turned inside out. In all, both pieces have a strong cinematic sense, appearing like soundtracks for some obscure movie (which only pretends to be elitist, but in the end is just impressionist, and I never sympathized with impressionism, to put it mildly). Most of the music appears to be weird, going nowhere, as it doesn't have any vector - no matter that the musicians have scrupulously repeated two sections while moving through Part I. There is much in common between this stuff and "The You Tomorrow" by Random Touch - just listen to all these hums (the guest duo's singing included), drones, swirling coins, various noises of indeterminable origin, etc. The other tracks contain a noticeably larger amount of conventional sounds and direct solos. However, such of the instruments declared as flute, electric violin and acoustic guitar are rarely a significant part of the show, while bassist Adriano Barbiero is the only musician whose performance is both appreciable and inventive throughout. The long Part VI varies from impressive powerful Space Rock to slow synthesizer space music, but the latter is prevalent, alas. Parts IV and V are both subsumed to the same musical concept and are the only pieces on which the invitees reveal sensible intonations much more often than those meaningless, now imitating the moans of muezzins, now strongly resembling a Georgian traditional choir singing, now reminding me of yogis drawlingly reading their mantras. Both are also notable for some remarkable flute work in places and are good pieces overall, although not without some annoying effects and random sounds. The purely instrumental Part III is a winner. It is the richest in instrumentation, apart from the ubiquitous bass, electric guitar and synthesizer, in addition featuring electric violin, piano and decent-sounding programmed percussion. The central storyline is a relatively atmospheric, and yet intense and dynamically developing Space Fusion jam reaching its culmination shortly before the coda.
Conclusion. I've just refreshed my memories of the outfit's previous CD with the purpose of comparing it with "Rivestire la Voce", which has resulted in my full assurance that the new one is better. I don't know whether it was originally intended that the singers should play the fool (a novelty?), but if there were less such buffoonery on the album, I would have probably rated it with five stars.
VM: September 3, 2006
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