Alberto Rigoni 2022
Italian bassist perseveres in the face of adversity to stay strong – and stay on the track.
There’s not a lot of records that are titled so misleadingly, and Alberto Rigoni’s aficionados wouldn’t be surprised to hear a vocal on his album, but “Songs For Souls” is another instrumental offering in a long line of his releases. Still, this platter can’t be considered a direct follow-up to 2021’s "For The Love Of Bass" which, typically for the 40-year-old rock veteran, smelled of experimental approach to performance; the ten numbers here are indeed voiceless songs which serve as a tribute to the artist’s father who passed away a few months prior to their issue. In fact, the tragedy was the reason behind their issue, as Alberto considered leaving music altogether, yet could there be a better way to honor the writer Mario Andrea Rigoni’s memory?
For all the sadness fueling the record, it’s fascinating how the tune is taking form out of the abstract whirr in “The Miracle” whose bass-prodded fragility solidifies to gradually reveal a song structure, before a newborn’s cry introduces “L’Origin du Monde” where Jordan Rudess’ synthesizers and piano carefully carry a crystalline melody towards a magnificent chorus and Alberto’s solemn rumble and runs propose a journey beyond this world’s beginning. Rigoni may come to the fore on the fusion punch of “Youth” after Jennifer Batten’s riffs and flurries of licks have rocked the cradle, yet he gets behind the progressive bossa nova of “Talking With My Demons” until Alessandro Bertoni’s Chopinesque piano passages change the piece’s raucous charm for a chamber spell, while the main man’s muscular performance will sculpt “Suddenly” to seem surprising enough, and there’s a pulsing orchestral drama in “The Battle” whose deceptive calmness-cum-march is guaranteed to crawl under one’s skin.
And then there’s “Silence”: the Italian master’s solo showcase and a dynamically nuanced prelude to Edoardo Taddei’s militant shredding and Mark Zonder’s belligerent drumming on “Keep On Fighting” – fierce, if still reflective, a perfect setting for “Peaceful Acceptance” that streams ivories’ ripples across acoustic strum and lets the organ-padded “Souls Never Die” fall into the heavy metal, harmonies-oiled groove. It’s a fitting finale for the album meant to encourage the listener – and the record’s creator – to carry on, for the album is a means of salvation.