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Nichelodeon - 2008 - "Cinemanemico"

(54:16, ‘Nichelodeon’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Fame 3:40
2.  La Mosca Stregata 1:06
3.  Lascia Ch'io Pianga 3:10
4.  Malamore e la Luna 4:22
5.  Amanti in Guera 3:59
6.  La Torre Piu Alta 9:49
7.  Cio Che Rimane 7:41
8.  Flower of Innocence 3:28
9.  Disegnando Cattedrali di Cellule-2 9:15
10. Il Ladro di Giochi 7:46


Riccardo Di Paola – synthesizers 
Maurizio Fasoli – piano 
Francesco Zago – guitars 
Claudio Milano – vocals 

Prolusion. NICHELODEON is a band–project put together by Cladio Milano, if I've understood matters correctly. The compositions on this album have been written from the late ‘90s onwards, all of them performed by various ensembles over the years. For this production a band was assembled and all tracks are live recordings.

Analysis. "Cinemanemico" is an outing representing a form of music I'm not extensively familiar with, or indeed even have a great desire to get better acquainted with. Not because I'm unable to comprehend or understand the contents, but because this kind of music needs lots of time and concentration to fully enjoy it, many repeated listenings to fully grasp it, and demands a lot of the listener even when the contents have been decoded and digested. Intriguing in small portions, but an album that will in most cases be too much of a good thing for me when I want to listen to music as entertainment: highly challenging music in other words. Not overly complex though, but alien and strange, presenting surprising combinations of moods, atmospheres and musical elements in a highly eclectic mix. The piano and the vocals are the key features throughout; with slow to mid-paced piano themes and explorations opening each song and melodic vocals with a certain dramatic tinge soon added. The songs then switch back and forth between this subtle opening segment and melodramatic, energetic segments with powerful piano themes and vocals in much the same vein, bordering on the operatic at times. In-between these contrasting segments are a number of effects that dominate affairs in part or almost in full. Jarring, static noises are one effect used on select occasions, while melodic or atmospheric guitar fragments pop up from time to time as well, most times adding more or less subtle disharmonic textures to the proceedings. Various forms of electronically produced sounds enhance those tendencies, creating rather stark contrasts on occasion. Furthermore, the aforementioned piano will also partake in dissonant detours and the vocal style also veers off into experimental territories now and then. The end result are compositions filled with many contrasts, experimental in nature, where the subtle melodic and harmonic are pitted against the big, dramatic yet still melodic explorations on one hand and dissonant, disharmonic and even arrhythmic wanderings on the other, at times creating a state of cacophony, with some dark, ominous sounding explorations thrown in for good measure. The individual tracks all seem to balance on a fine line between creative, innovative, experimental music and self-indulgent noise, and as I regard it there are a few occasions where the latter seems to be the case. Most songs, if that term is applicable here, manage to succeed in the balancing act though, creating intriguing patterns worthwhile exploring further.

Conclusion. Far from being a personal favorite, I still find myself fascinated by many of the explorations on this release, in particular those where the effects are used as such instead of dominating the proceedings. The music is creative, inventive and challenging, and should have an audience amongst those looking for just this kind of music - experimental compositions with a high degree of contrast, unusual musical elements and an adventurous approach to the art of mixing melodies, dissonances and noise into a compelling whole.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 10, 2009
The Rating Room

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