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TRACK LIST: 1. Da Nemico ad Amico 2:04 2. T6A 1:48 3. Ishbu Kubu 8:48 4. Angelus 4:34 5. D2 1:10 6. Solennità dell'Ombra 5:14 7. Bacchae 2:42 8. T6b 6:12 9. Nuova Vita 4:04 10. Profezia 1:23 11. Esilio 3:36 12. Falso 3:15 13. D3 1:13 14. Purifica le Tue Labbra 3:45 15. D4 0:51 16. Sull'affanno Dell'uomo / Postpurifica 4:36 17. D1 0:53 18. Reishbu Kubu 10:10 LINEUP: Alessio Riccio – drums, percussion; sound design Hasse Poulsen – guitars Monica Demeru – vocals Catherine Jauniaux – vocals
Prolusion. Italian artist Alessio RICCIO has a recording history as a solo artist that dates back to 2000, and in a few hectic years he released six full-length albums, the most recent of these in 2003. Following a ten year break Riccio returned as a recording solo artist in 2013 with "Ninshubar: From the Above to the Below", and as was the case with his previous productions as well, this CD was released through his own label Unorthodox Recordings.
Analysis. Progressive rock can take on a substantial array of sounds, atmospheres and expressions, as has been mentioned by your truly on a substantial number of occasions over the years. Riccio is one of the relative few these days that explores a territory I'm totally unfamiliar with, which is a rare experience for me and for quite a few who have been in the reviews circle for a number of years, I guess. Not that this is new music as such, others have explored similar territories for a number of years, but this is the first time I've encountered this type of material myself. Riccio's "Ninshubar" is a production that has a safe home well inside the experimental part of the progressive rock realm, or perhaps inside the progressive electronic universe. A case can be made for either of these, and while Riccio's electronic flavors dominate to a much greater extent than Poulsen's guitars, the latter details don't really have a safe home inside a progressive electronic context. Even so, the matter finding the right contextual box for the music explored on this disc isn't really about these styles of music at all. Or, to phrase it differently, whether or not this music fits inside a rock or an electronic context isn't all that important actually, and will probably be more confusing than revealing as far as the material on this album goes. This CD gives us songs with dramatic three second long sound explosions, following each other at a frantic pace, with moments of relative stability that may last 10 or 15 seconds, at least in the initial phases of this CD. Later on we do encounter phases that last more or less unchanged even for a full minute, and as far as the epic-length concluding construction even longer. But there's a sense of dark, dramatic urgency that is a key feature throughout, alternating with occasional moments of a more tranquil nature. With drum and percussion bursts, electronic disturbing yet subtle clicks, sound textures of origins hard to categorize, twisted guitar sounds and vocals. Spoken words, intense shouts, sensual moans, husky singing and just about everything in between. Sometimes with a more defined jazz-tinged expression, but more often than not of a more undefinable nature. Electroacoustic is a phrase used, and if you add experimental to that word you'll have a general idea about what you might expect. Personally I found this CD to be most interesting when it is at its most intense. The passages of a more elongated nature, and especially the ones with more of a calm and occasionally ambient expression, didn't quite manage to create the tension needed, at least as far as my own taste is concerned. Apart from that, this is a vital and challenging production, an album made for an audience that craves music of a different orientation, generally speaking. Those with a deep knowledge may also want to use a specific phrase to describe the music at hand here, a phrase I had forgotten all about myself, but where one of the people in my digital network, Joel Lee, came to the rescue. The phrase in question is Musique Concrete, and those unfamiliar with that phrase or those who alongside me had forgotten what that is are well advised to hit wikipedia to read up on that subject. As far as I can tell, if this CD is not a direct example of that type of music, then at least heavily inspired by it (or otherwise oriented towards it).
Conclusion. That Alessio Riccio has chosen to name his label Unorthodox Recordings appears to be fairly natural, at least when you explore his 2013 album "Ninshubar. From the Above to the Below". More than an hour’s worth of electroacoustic music in the borderlands between rock and electronic, that appears to have been crafted with the musique concrete ideology in mind. A challenging production of challenging music, and one recommended to those who tends to find music described in such a manner to be interesting. Besides that I kind of suspect that those with a taste for experimental and free-form jazz might possibly find this CD to be an alluring experience.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 1, 2014
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