[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(56:23, AltrOck Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Fraguglie 6:05 2. Denti 5:07 3. Carta e Burro 4:59 4. Scrupoli 4:13 5. Delta 5:04 6. Scogli-I 2:11 7. Sotto-sotto 5:36 8. Mummia 5:24 9. Scogli-II 2:33 10. La Nefazia di Multatuli 6:29 11. Scogli-III 1:30 12. Rassegnati 7:12 LINEUP: Paolo "Ske" Botta – organs, el. pianos, synths Francesco Zago – ac. & el. guitars Giuspeppe Olvini – percussion Maurizio Fasoli – fortepiano Markus Stauss – saxophones Valerio Cipollone – clarinet Ella Leon Mariani – violin Mattia Signo – drums Pierre Wawrzyniak – bass Nicolas Nikolopoulos – flute With: Fabrice Toussaint – trombone Fabio Ceriani – percussion Enrica Di Bastiano – harp Roberta Pagani – voice Valerio Reina – voice
Prolusion. SKE is a new outfit formed by Italian keyboardist Paolo Botta (from Yugen) – probably with the purpose of playing and recording compositions, all of which would be written by himself. Just logically, “1000 Autunni” is the project’s first release, albeit, at least in terms of performance, it appears to be basically another brainchild of Yugen, as most of the musicians involved are from this band: read the first eight names in the line-up above, beginning with that of the man himself.
Analysis. The album indeed shows that Paolo’s personal musical preferences are quite different from those of his, say, paternal ensemble: above all because only three of the disc’s twelve pieces contain movements that are done by the laws of RIO – the style that Yugen normally plays in. These are Scrupoli, Mummia and Rassegnati, being the best three compositions here, and I’m pretty sure it was the man’s deliberate decision to place them on tracks 4, 8 and 12 respectively, thus giving the album a fairly symmetrical outlook in construction. Besides the above moves, however, each of these reveals both art-rock and jazz-fusion ones, as well as ones that seem to be designed to eliminate the border between the said two styles, all of which, in turn, typifies much of the rest of the material. The finest examples of the idiom (by your permission) would be Fraguglie, Denti and Delta. Full of undercurrents, these are multi-sectional, dynamically evolving compositions, with a strong vintage aura almost throughout. Jethro Tull, Soft Machine, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Focus, Camel and National Health all can be used as reference points, albeit only as relative ones, since the music is overall quite highly original. All in all, it’s only the frequent – and effective – use of mallet percussion on these, as well as on most of the other tracks, that does really remind me of Yugen’s work. La Nefazia di Multatuli and Scogli-III each contain only two moves with an intense full-band sound, otherwise being slow-paced and texturally fairly transparent, though both are good in the final analysis, as the musicians are quite careful in exploring the themes given, infrequently returning to a previously played one. On the other hand, Scogli-II, which is also a slow-paced piece, featuring no percussion instruments, is better, perhaps much better than either of those three, as the music here is lush and, what’s particularly impressive, almost ever-changing. The remaining tracks, Carta e Burro, Scogli-I and Sotto-sotto (the last two of which follow one another) are all rather scanty in instrumentation, suggesting Jazz Ambient in style rather than anything else, and while the first two of these would be fine be they viewed within the said idiom, the latter one sounds monotonous all over its length (5:24), and so comes across as a filler.
Conclusion. Taken in its overall appearance, the 56-minute “1000 Autunni” is definitely a good effort, but it would’ve been an excellent one (not a masterpiece, though) had it not featured the ambient-like pieces. To be frank, I have a feeling that you, Paolo, put on this disc all of the pieces you had at the time of recording it. In any event, be more exacting when choosing styles next time (after all, you’re a progressive musician, aren’t you?), and you’ll succeed in your further adventures as a sole composer – unless there is no such intention on your agenda.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]