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(36 min, Mellow)
TRACK LIST: 1. Interpolations With Casual Drums 3:23 2. Hubble 4:52 3. Gate Zero 9:38 4. Lineytra 7:42 5. Junghian Rhapsody 8:10 6. Komn 3:10 LINEUP: Gianluca Cottarelli - synthesizers Andrea De Luca - electric bass synth pedal Carlo Fattorini - percussion
Prolusion. Founded by bassist Andrea De Luca, Italy's NODO GORDIANO has existed since 1994. Four years later they presented their eponymous debut CD. The next year, in 1999, their lineup underwent its first major changes: De Luca remained as the only original member in the band. "Alea" is their second album.
Analysis. After hearing "Alea" I have unwittingly asked myself a question: "Is this really the same band that did a great joint live performance with John Wetton in 1998, when they played cover versions of King Crimson's '70s repertoire?" "Alea" sounds much like a homemade recording, though it was enough to have a look at the personnel's equipment in the CD booklet to make certain of that prior to listening to the album. No real instruments are credited, apart from synthesizers. Carlo Fattorini manually provides some complex chops via electronic percussion, as also does Andrea De Luca by pressing the corresponding synthesizer keys in the corresponding regimen, but where the hell did they lose their real instruments? The album is subtitled "Three Voice Improvisations in Romanesque Style". It's unclear to me what the guys wanted to say with this remark. There is nothing Romanesque in this music. Not even counting some random-like synthesizer solos from the newcomer, Gianluca Cottarelli, there are no authentic improvisations, the 'rhythm section' playing exclusively fixed themes. Back to the style: It's mainly nothing else but a traditional electronic Space Rock. There are episodes with Moog-like solos and general symphonic tendencies, where the musicians try to get a classic keyboard trio sound, on each of the three tracks with more or less dense and intense arrangements (Interpolations With Casual Drums, Hubble and Lineytra), but the virtually synthetic nature of the performance process has reduced such attempts almost to nothing. That said, only the first two pieces are to a certain degree diverse and interesting, leaving a sense of compositional completeness, while the others are either straightforward, as the totally slow Komn, or clearly undeveloped, as the longer tracks: Gate Zero and Junghian Rhapsody, both being pseudo suites. The former seems to pretend to be experimental atmospheric Space Rock, but there are too many purely synthesizer landscapes, with slowly droning passages accompanied by spacey effects, and no sensible links between sections. Junghian Rhapsody is something average between Gate Zero and Komn, the rhythmically pronounced, yet exclusively slow parts of the trio alternating with 'the birds' warbling in silence.
Conclusion. Although I can't find any traces of keyboardist Gianluca Cottarelli in the band's previous 'incarnations' (up to the end of 2004!), his name stands first in the lineup, and it's certainly not for no particular reason. Much of the music sounds like his solo effort. I don't know why the other two musicians, particularly Andrea De Luca, have subscribed to this doubtful adventure, but I believe it was not a good idea, at least because the project appeared under the vehicle of Nodo Gordiano. The resources mostly destined to electronic Space Rock and related stuff might even praise "Alea", while I simply wrote from my heart in response to the music.
VM: January 30, 2006
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