Tre recensioni in una su Vital Weekly (Olanda)

Three new releases from the small Venetian Diplodisc label, run by Alessandro Monti who operates under the name Unfolk. You may know him – and if not you should – from the marvellous album ‘Venetian Book of the Dead’, he produced with Kevin Hewick and crew. Previously he released also a solo-album (2006), that has been recently rereleased together with extra (live) material of the Venetian Book –project. With his long time mate Gigi Masin he produced the album ‘The Wind Collector’. For his new solo effort Monti plays a wide range of instruments: electronics, electric mandolin feedback, 12 string acoustic & 6 string electric guitars, bass, piano, mandolin, virtual oboe/bassoon, digital reverb, overdubbed percussion tracks: triangle, maracas, shekere, 3 different bells, cymbals, Nepalese gong, Chinese health balls, Tibetan chimes, African drums. Could alas not decipher the meaning behind the title ‘SpiritDzoe. But what is clear, Monti is a musician who takes his inspiration from folk, world music and ambient music. He is a capable builder of atmospheric, dreamy miniatures, coloured by a diversity of instruments. The album counts 8 pieces that together make up a suite. In the opening track he gives a prominent and effective role to feedback. Saying that I must add that he has a very recognizable sound especially when playing bass, mandolin or bassoon. His compositions are not complex or pretentious. I’m astonished by how little he needs to make a piece work and create some warm music. Like in ‘Part 3’ or the electronics-dominated ambient piece ‘Part 6’. Others pieces, like ‘Part 5’, have a nice melodic line, played here on oboe. The album closes with two tracks that are built from simple percussive patterns, played by different percussive instruments. Massimo Berizzi has a background in 70s rock, blues, and electric jazz, and became gradually influenced by electronic and experimental music. Like Monti he released one other solo album named ‘What Remains In A Breath’ (2009). And like Monti he is into ambient like music but more in connection with jazz and not folk as in the case of Monti. For his new solo album Monti assists on bass, African and jamaican percussion and keyboards, and Norvegian artist Oddrun Eikli adds some remarkable angelic vocals, in several pieces as for example ‘Norske Vidder’. Berizzi himself plays trumpet, keyboards, electric guitar, voice and electronics. His music inevitably brings Jon Hassell to mind, and also a trumpet player like Arve Henriksen. Sensitive, delicate music with fine combinations and arrangements of instruments and sounds. On albums like these uptempo and rhythm-based tracks are often missed by me to compensate the dominance of slowly progressing soundscapes. But happily there are some, like ‘Multi-Folklore’and ‘Norske Vidder’. Both Monti and Berizzi are also both present on the sampler album compiled by Monti with further contributions by many unknown Italian acts as well a few contributions from the UK and the States. Also Kevin Hewick is featured on this collection that consists solely of material that has not been released elsewhere. Very different artists, but a homogeneous album of ambient and folk rock related music. Some of the pieces are very romantic, like the beginning of ‘Storm’ by Biro before it turns into a stormy rhythm-based section. Mauro Martello impresses with a beautiful solo on duduk , playing an Armenian motive. Gianni Visnadi delivers a thrilling piece of dark ambient music. Monti contributes two pieces in collaboration with his mate Gigi Masin. The album is dedicated to folk heroes Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Dale Miller, a.o. No wonder guitarist Miller, who died in 2013, closes the album with an old Venetian tune in an inspired performance by Dale Miller. (Dolf Mulder, from VITAL WEEKLY number 956 week 46).

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