Breaking through the looking glass, Italian avant-garde artists assault the tropes of consumerism.
Since their beginning about quarter-century ago to our here and now, this collective have been tapping – and sometimes banging – into the actualities of the Western world’s existence in order to mock ‘n’ rock it with enviable variety of sounds delivered by fluid line-ups. “La Chiamata” – that thematically picks up where 2013’s “La Fisica delle Nuvole” left off – might be their most grandiose effort to date, the album challenging the very idea of restricted liberty on both conceptual and organizational levels. The core quartet not only came up with arresting story of a dystopian psychodruid but also had two dozens of musicians play together, rather than engage in file-swapping peccadilloes, which resulted in special rapport between all the musicians and, thanks to the presence of two stereo-panned drummers on every piece, the tribal groove so integral to what’s going on here.
Still, if opener “Onoda Hiroo” signals the shaman’s advent in a supermarket with a mighty twang of Alessandro Casini’s guitar and Carlo Sciannameo’s bass that erupt into infectious riffs before letting Simone Tilli’s angry voice cast a pogo spell over the tasty belch of Vittorio Nistri’s ivories, the squeal will boil down to an anxious throb in “Un incendio visto da lontano” to allow acoustic strum and piano ripple dance around predatory, declamatory voice and sweeten the cut’s chorus. But once the clang and organ has steamrolled the aural landscape into the title track’s grungy sloganeering, sonic revolution is bound to reflect radical social changes – and the captivating tranquility of funky sax is bound to prove deceptive, until the harmonized cover of Max Roach’s “Triptych” – whose original partition was “Prayer/Protest/Peace” – leads musique concrète beyond the pale.
It’s there that the histrionically stentorian parade of “Tamburo sei pazzo” takes place, vibes and percussive layers spiced up with spoken word and snippets of a tune, yet the melody driving “Manifesto Cannibale” is much clearer – to such an extent where this number can be called a proper progressive-rock song, taut-but-loose and provided a method-to-the-madness. The same approach has been applied to “Blu quasi trasparente” to bring the spectacle to a close by hypnotic, trance-inducing, albeit soulful, ritual in which refrains of a few familiar classics get adapted to the record’s narrative – to a great effect. Factor in a sophisticated packaging – including two covers, a poster and an impressive booklet (done, sadly, strictly in Italian) – and “La Chiamata” must become tantamount to an ultimate work of contemporary, and a tad trad, art.