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(34:22, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Gauss 4:28 2. Officine Scansadiavoli 5:34 3. Aspettami 4:05 4. Estremamente Rosso 5:50 5. Riccardo 4:44 6. Tubo Blues 5:20 7. Il Circolo Esoterico Di Bussolengo 4:21 LINEUP: Michele Della Malva – bass Roberto Reggiani – drums Andrea Silvestri – guitars
Prolusion. The Italian trio R 11 (aka Round 11) started out back in 2000, originally as a bass, drums and saxophone based affair. Since then the saxophone has been replaced by a guitar, and two full-length studio albums have been released. "Lupus in Trio" is their debut album, issued by Lizard Records in 2012.
Analysis. The seven compositions that are presented here document a band with an approach to jazz rock that is very much of their own making, at least my relatively limited approach to their branch of the progressive rock universe hasn't touched upon a band unit with this particular blend of styles before. Which at least should say something about a band that makes a wholehearted attempt at staying away from the more heavily explored grounds of jazz rock. Basically this is a band that uses alternating and contrasting sequences a lot, and one might say that the entire experience relies upon that as a general principle. Which isn't all that novel, but it is the manner in which the key sequences have been constructed that is an interesting aspect here. We do get out fair share of busy, jazzy drum patterns dominating with dampened bass and guitar details, adding the gentler touch, and passages sporting a just as distinctly jazz-oriented, firm and dominating bass guitar sporting a gentler, dampened drums and guitar presence have their place too. But the key aspect of R 11's sound appears to be a third set of themes, ones featuring ethereal, light toned guitar details with an expression that comes fairly close to being described as textured in delivery backed by either dampened or firmer edged bass and drums, where one, the other or both are used to either contrast or supplement the frail, flighty guitar motif. These parts are then paired off with shorter or longer runs of a more defined and regular jazz rock or jazz-oriented sound, often with a more firm guitar sound to enhance the experience of contrasts being used. In between this we also hear passages of a more regular jazz rock expression, the compositions rarely staying put for any extended period of time in any given style, and not all that often replicating any previously explored sound directly either. At least not without adding some elements of variation into the mix. This all-instrumental excursion touches base with jazz, jazz rock and funk along the way, with atmospheric details and a slight touch of what might be described as post rock flavoring tossed in for good measure. All performed in a controlled, efficient and smooth manner, where even a harder edged funk based sound can come and go and feel like a case of a style that naturally belongs to the overall context.
Conclusion. R 11 has made themselves a fine debut album with "Lupus in Trio". Tight, compelling and often fairly intricate instrumental jazz rock is the name of the game here, with ethereal guitar details a central aspect of the sound they explore, paired off with sequences of a more defined jazz or jazz rock orientation, mainly by way of drums or bass. A production that merits an inspection by those who are generally fascinated by instrumental jazz rock, and in particular those who favor bands that strive to explore this style of music in a manner a bit outside of the most commonly explored varieties of it.
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