Margorani / Newhouse / Zenoni — Beauty Is in the Distance
(ADN DNN 006 C, 2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-11-30
Guitarist Luciano Margorani has been active in the Italian experimental music scene since the mid-80s, as a solo artist, as a member of La 1919, Ferdinando Farao’s Archipel Orchestra, and Fracture, as well as collaborations with the likes of Chris Cutler, Derek Bailey, Elliott Sharp, Henry Kaiser, Ferdinand Richard, Bruno Meillier, Charles Hayward, Giovanni Venosta, Roberto Musci, Gregg Bendian, and many others. For this 40-minute improvisation he has teamed up with his drummer from La 1919, Federico Zenoni, laying down the basic track, and invited The Muffins’ Dave Newhouse to lay down additional tracks of clarinet, bass clarinet, and keyboards to complete the piece. Launching somewhere on the rock side of fusion, the initial burst of energy is a powerful trio of guitar, electric piano, and drums, winding down into some interesting percussive play with strange noise accompniment. While the piece is indeed 40 minutes non-stop, there are a number of index points breaking it down into nine distinct sections, the second of which is slower paced, introducing the bass clarinet to the overall mix over bursts of sparkling electric piano, leading directly into a playful conversation between guitars and bass clarinet, with Zenoni’s drums erupting into splendid chaotic brilliance midway through. By the beginning of the fourth section we are again in a more laid-back mode with a conversation between drums and piano, with guitar adding the highlights as the piece builds. These alternating and contrasting dynamics that follow through the piece with different instrumentation taking lead roles at different times as it goes is the glue that holds it all together and keeps the piece interesting from beginning to end. While there are many highly energized full-throttle sections to grab the listener by the jugular, with repeated listens the beauty of the slower parts where there is a more spacious approach come to light and reveal themselves (all of section six, and a good chunk of section eight, for example) for their subtle and magical intensity. All taken, as far as improvisation goes, Beauty Is in the Distance is firing on all cylinders for its entire 40 minute duration.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more