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(58:31, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 4:32 2. Proboscide 6:02 3. Egghead 5:10 4. Post Office-1 2:36 5. XL 4:06 6. Fluidoterapia 3:56 7. Post Office-2 5:05 8. Sonata 5:26 9. Grog 6:04 10. Post Office-3 2:47 11. Dikkop 5:52 12. Animal Factory 11:58 LINEUP: Giulio Tosi – bass Juri Massa – drums Marco Calcaprina – trumpet, trombone With: Alessandro Froli – saxophone (2, 4, 10, 11) Matteo Anelli – double bass (7, 10) Alex Zobel – narratives (4, 7, 10) Ivan Rossi – electronics (1, 2)
Prolusion. TOM MOTO, a trio from Italy, presents their debut outing “Junk”, which was released last year by their native label Lizard Records. Apart from the band members, four other personnel took part in the recording (see lineup above), albeit two of those aren’t real musicians.
Analysis. Three of the album’s twelve tracks feature a narrator, and all of those completely fall out of the album’s prevalent style, appearing as sort of freaks, which, however, doesn’t mean they are weak. They’re just too different compared to the other tracks, as well as to each other. While presented as parts of the same piece, Post Office, they (besides the spoken words – which aren’t music, however) have near nothing in common between each other. An acoustic jazz ambient tune, Part-1 is slow and melodious throughout. Part-2 is highly improvisational in nature (performed on the spur of the moment), whilst Part-3 is almost totally composed, reminding me strongly of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page in style – and not only because the double bass sounds here very much like an acoustic guitar. Disc opener Intro begins and develops similar to the aforementioned Part-1, but has an electronic sense in addition. Besides, in its finale the piece is transformed into heavy Jazz-Fusion (often with almost metallic overtones), which – as further listening demonstrated – turned out to be the album’s prevalent style, as the tracks all fully suit the idiom, throughout. It is quite another matter that one of those, XL, isn’t too rich in different thematic storylines, turns and twists, etc, unlike the remaining six, namely Proboscide, Egghead, Fluidoterapia, Grog, Dikkop and Animal Factory, all of which are positively eclectic and are simply mind-blowing in the final analysis. There is no, say, six-string axe on the album, but I often have the impression that there is. Giulio Tosi’s bass has a hard, edgy sound, and the man plays the instrument with a true passion, even mastery, varying its tone from distinctly deep to high (which is almost not unlike the one the electric guitar has), riffing and soloing in a highly diverse manner. His joint, at once tight, intense and intricate, work with drummer Juri Massa suggests that both of the musicians have a bent for structuring a groove – or, rather, the basic themes – in the way Primus did all over the first ten years of their activity, albeit King Crimson (think “Discipline” as well as “Vroom”) can also serve as a point of comparison. However, there also are brass instruments, whose commander, Marco Calcaprina, both tastily and inventively supports the above duo (it sickens me to label them as a rhythm section), now playing melodically, now doing improvisations, which can be wild of a sort, but never pointless, to say the least. Add here that the band has properly used the studio possibilities: they added some – really necessary – overdubs to the basic material when mixing the album, which resulted in a sound that is powerful and voluminous alike. That’s not to say there are no calm arrangements on the primary style compositions – there are, but on most of those they disappear as quickly and suddenly as they appear, serving to diversify the music in structure (too) rather then being a norm, so to speak. A bit of criticism as the review’s curtain falls. While the CD player indicates that the album’s closing number, Animal Factory, lasts for 12 minutes, it is in fact almost half that long. The silence ‘rules’ all over its core space – a trite, absolutely worthless trick, which is already perceived worse than a hackneyed joke. It just mars this – overall excellent – composition by separating its two parts with a long pause. Well, it isn’t mortal :-), after all.
Conclusion. Tomo Moto’s “Junk” is an excellent effort, perhaps bordering on a masterpiece – at least bearing in mind that it’s the band’s debut output. It’s full of energy and drive and is complex enough to please even the connoisseurs of King Crimson (while some, if not most, of Primus’s fans might not to dig it). Call it progressive Hard Rock, Metal, or even Punk with distinct jazz intonations, this combination of groovy, yet still intricate, basic themes, ornamented by quirky bass and brass leads, does really transport. Recommended!
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: October 16, 2010
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