Total Metal 2021
Fusion-fueled conversations between the four-or-more string virtuosi – as moderated by a Veneto artiste who knows how to marry rhythm to reverie.
Instrumental album focused on a bottom end of dynamic spectrum… Such a description sounds extremely boring – unlike the record it’s supposed to define. One would assume the Treviso perfprmer has always dreamed of delivering an opus like this, laying down tracks alongside renown masters of his chosen trade, yet the set Alberto Rigoni came up with is neither duels between colleagues nor the 39-year-old praying at the altar of other players. “For The Love Of Bass” is exactly that: a dozen odes to the titular instrument as refracted through the Italian composer’s melodies and caught in the crossfire of kindred spirits’ well-concerted assault on his arresting tunes.
There’s no details on who does what on any given number, and maybe it’s for the best – especially if the listeners aren’t familiar with a musician’s manner – because this way a cut can be assessed as a whole, rather than a simple sum of parts every bassist submits. They might weave a sparse tapestry on elegiac opener “Drops Of Memories” where Rigoni’s robust strum gets wrapped into Tony Franklin‘s fretless lines to resonate powerfully, if romantically, before unison is reached, but Alberto and Lars Lehmann lock into each other to give the evergreen “Misirlou” as much energy – only of groovy, jovial sort. And while the trance-inducing “In The Loop” will find the host and David Pastorius explore upper register and cosmic effects, the venerable Leland Sklar’s appearance on the cover of “Mad World” must make the song’s reading in “Donnie Darko” akin to a walk in the park.
Still, when another guest, Doug Wimbish, has to rumble on “Alone In The Dark” to wrap the piece in a fright, Rigoni infuses it with a sense of nocturnal adventure, which his strings and Cody Wright’s fuzzy roar take into “Paranoia” that veers from cinematic rock to country, until the majestically varied dialogue with Mohini Dey on “The Maze” brings a light, albeit percussive, breeze to the fore. So even though Adam Nitti’s attack on “Social Distortion” is indeed distorted, letting the writer shoot flurries of notes through the cut, “Masked Souls” – featuring the mutually sympathetic triumvirate of Alberto, Nathan East and Michael Manring – proves to be truly serene, yet often twisted, rumination on existence.
The result of it all is not an album strictly for musicians able to admire the bassists’ dexterity – this record has a mass appeal.