Marking their 20th anniversary by returning to the fore of art-rock scene, Italian duo give classicism a new name.
Friends from teen age, piano player Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi’s first span under this name was short-lived, despite the release of “Inuit” back in 1999, but since the two joined forces once again, the game plan has been drastically different. Their performance at Expo 2015 in Milan signalled another high in a year that saw the small ensemble record with MUSE producer Paul Reeve and master the results at Abbey Road, “The Sun Is New Each Day” demanding a lot of attention in its cinematic detail. At 31 minutes, the album impressively paints prog lines on symphonic canvas yet, in the scope between Fauré and Fripp, most riveting are the moments of classical approximation of rock approach.
There’s chemical wedding of the genres in “Satellites” – its solemn orchestral sway displaying a futuristic edge – but, despite a few lines of mundane spoken word, the scintillating “‘G’ As In Gears” is as quietly grandiose as the ambient buzz of “Connect Four” whose melody arrives to dance in multi-layered cosmic ways. Equally elegiac, and finely punctuated with pizzicato, “Slippery Slope” may be disturbed by an underlying heaviness of Colin Edwin’s bass, bringing his PORCUPINE TREE expertise to the table, and Jasper Barendregt’s drums, although strings and ivories are left alone in “Le Temps Qui Fait Ta Rose” for a romantic soiree.
Still, with all the rippling riffs which keep “Suitcase War” in the state of rage, when Bigi and Fosso’s electric armory allow for a wild hoedown, things swing into motion to get even more playful in “Insert Coin” as 8-bit beats underpin a retro drift. Here, the album’s title makes perfect sense, the same sun appearing fresh night after night, in a natural kind of game; the game that ARMONITE have won now.