[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(54.49, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Sun and the Blue 5.34 2. Papaya 5.34 3. The Talisman 4.18 4. Desert Wind 5.49 5. Follow the Rain 2.20 6. Cloud Nine 5.27 7. Caravan 3.52 8. Harbour 6.02 9. Ring of Light 4.06 10. Dream inside a Dream 5.13 11. Cappadocia 6.54 LINEUP: Pablo Tarlindano – bass; computer programming MariaG. Murano – keyboards; comp programming Sime Murano – el. & ac. guitars, synth guitar Giorgio Barasciutti – drums, percussion
Prolusion. POSTMERIDIEM are an Italian quartet from Venice, about whom there is not a lot of information available. “The Sun and the Blue”, their debut album, was originally released in 2005, but only made available in 2009 by Lizard Records. They do appear to be still active though, at least on the live front.
Analysis. PostMeridiem’s sole album to date, “The Sun and the Blue”, is one of those discs that have all it takes to be masterpieces, but do not quite make the cut – for a number of reasons. The four musicians involved (all in their late forties) have an impressive background and admirable technical skills, and the music showcased on the album is accomplished and very pleasing to the ear, occasionally even beautiful. However, the listener may be left with the ultimate impression of a production that is less than the sum of its parts. The main problem with “The Sun of the Blue” can be very effectively summarized by three simple words: lack of variation. The album boasts a consistently pleasant, laid-back mood, which feels very nice and relaxing at first, but then ends up morphing into something much less flattering – that is, a sense of sameness very much akin to boredom. The 11 tracks on the album all seem to flow at the same pace, and the underlying jazz/fusion structure is all too often ‘drowned’ by what sounds suspiciously close to Ambient/New Age mannerisms. While the pervasive use of keyboards lends the album an appealing lushness, after a while it may turn somewhat soporific – so that, at the beginning of every track, you almost find yourself hoping for something more uptempo, with a tad more bite. The above criticism notwithstanding, “The Sun and the Blue” has a lot going for it, especially for those listeners who are attracted by sophisticated, ambient-like atmospheres rather than energetic pacing and injections of pure adrenaline. As hinted in a previous paragraph, the individual members of the band know their business, and the remarkable cohesion between them is reflected in the disciplined nature of the compositions. PostMeridiem’s take on jazz-fusion is definitely not the most innovative – harking back to models such as Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with a strong ambient tinge suffusing the whole fabric of the music. A sizable part of the band’s sound consists of ethnic influences, as some of the song titles clearly point out. Most of the album, as a matter of fact, sounds like the ideal soundtrack for a lazy afternoon spent on some exotic, faraway beach – finely-crafted and soothing to the ear, but not too intellectually demanding. Though “The Sun and the Blue” gives an overall impression of uniformity, some tracks display distinctive features that set them apart from the rest. Sounding as exotic as its title, Papaya showcases the considerable skills of bassist Pablo Tarlindano, with a rich bass line propelling the song along, enhanced by touches of marimba and some noteworthy guitar work. More ethnic vibes surface in the Far Eastern-flavoured Talisman, which, however, sounds somewhat artificial due to the use of electronics rather than ‘real’ instruments – and the evocative Desert Wind, driven by the interplay between keyboards and percussion. On the other hand, the melancholy, rarefied Harbour comes across as the most typical jazz-fusion number on the album, a sort of dialogue between slow, brooding guitar and subdued keyboards. A particularly poignant offering, the composition is dedicated to the victims of toxic poisoning - a burning issue in the heavily industrialized area around the city of Venice. Ring of Light is mainly an acoustic guitar number, gentle and vaguely sad; while album closer Cappadocia, slower in its first half, and more dynamic in the second, is oddly reminiscent of King Crimson’s haunting The Sheltering Sky. As a whole, PostMeridiem come across as a promising outfit, with enough talent and potential to produce even better things in the future. I, for one, would be interested in hearing any further developments of their sound – provided they can inject some more variety into it.
Conclusion. In spite of the reservations expressed in the previous paragraphs, “The Sun and the Blue” is a very pleasing listen, even if it will inevitably disappoint any fans of the more dynamic, up-to-date brands of jazz/fusion. Those who love keyboard-rich textures and laid-back, evocative atmosphere with a gentle jazz spicing will instead find this album very much to their taste.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]