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Nichelodeon - Bath Salts CD (album) cover





3.56 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Recently I received a fascinating looking 4 Cd set, beautifully packaged in a blue textured card sleeve and tied with string. 2 of the cd's were the album I'm reviewing here, Bath Salts by NichelOdeon, the other 2 being L'Enfant Et Le Menure by InSonor. The connection between the 2 projects is the vocalist Claudio Milano hence the reason for them being available together but the 2 double albums are also available individually. As InSonor are currently being evaluated by the Avant team I'll stick to the NichelOdeon discs for this review though I'll add that anyone interested in Bath Salts is equally likely to enjoy the InSonar project too.

Where to start with such an ambitious release? Well NichelOdeon is a project masterminded by Claudio Milano, Raoul Moretti, Pierangelo Pandiscia and Vincenzo Zitello though it features numerous guest musicians too. 32 in total apparently. According to the press release it's a concept album based on "cannibalism in interpersonal relationships". Sounds a bit heavy going? Well there's no denying it, it is, being spread over 2 discs with a total running time of over 1 hour and 40 minutes making it more so. While musically it clearly sits in the avant genre it features elements of classical, jazz with electronic and ethnic touches too. While it's not going to appeal to everyone's tastes and some of it is undeniably heavy going much it features surprisingly strong melodies.

The music centres around the incredible vocals, sung in Italian, of Cladio Milano. His emotional and highly skilled delivery, with a high range too, suggest some sort of classical training but whether this is the case or not I don't know. He's sometimes aided by equally effective female backing vocals. Despite the effectiveness of the often sparse instrumental backing it's his vocal work that really sets the music alight. Musically though it's all beautifully played with harp having strong presence in many of the pieces. In fact opener Prologo features only Celtic harp and vocals and is perhaps the most beautifully haunting composition on the entire album. Surprisingly some of the music has, to my ears at least, a traditional Japanese vibe, non-more so than on Un Posto Sicuro which is another highlight. While there's no drum kit as such on most the pieces plenty on use is made of many percussion instruments which works very effectively. Not surprisingly most of the instrumentation is of the classical variety such as cello, violin, viola and flute with occasional use of bass guitar and sax.

As already mentioned, considering the style of music, much of the material is surprisingly melodic though occasionally things become heavier going like on the vocal dominated 7 AZIONI - Musica Per La Carne and Fuoco Amico. However, by avant standards at least, much of the album very accessible to those - and that includes me, who don't normally listen to this kind of music.

Overall then while this is not going to be to everyone's taste's, due in no small part to the skill and inventiveness on display the project can be regarded as a big success. At the right time I can see myself chilling out and really enjoying Bath Salts. Well worth checking out, even if music of an avant nature is not normally your thing.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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