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Nichelodeon - Bath Salts CD (album) cover





3.56 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Beneath the surface

Funny how such mundane and everyday words like bath salts suddenly can take on another meaning altogether. A little while back there was an incident in Miami, where a poor homeless man got his face bitten off by a drug fuelled raving lunatic, who indeed was tripping like an angry bear on the now infamous drug: bath salts. Since then 100s of videos have popped on YouTube relegating arbitrary people on this terrifying drug - most of them looking like they're on fire, possessed by some demon or merely trying to escape their earthly prison, clawing away at their own flesh like was it thick evil goo in the process of poisoning everything it comes in contact with.

I then read Claudio Milano's lyrics to 'Bath Salts' and found an extremely intelligent man asking questions about our nature - our human nature, or conversely the lack of it when confronted by the great big wheels of the world......the things that stem from cold machine feelings and parameters set up by ancient peoples trying their best to keep everything in check and that means people too. So there's a sadness here - a pensive mind eating away at the facial layers of our society, how we choose to succumb to rules, ideas and the things we don't understand.....and in the midst of all this, we're in serious danger of losing ourselves and the things that make us human. We erase the child and order a new person - an adult fixed and ready to go surfing in the huge big boy world, where everything depends on everything else, and nothing is as clear cut and real like it used to be.

Swish! Twinkling harp rivers of sound that stream and twirl oh so beautifully and naturally, you simply get transported into the grand scope of Italy's immense musical universe - 1000s of famous landscape paintings zoom through your brain, and then he opens his mouth.....

Claudio Milano is not so much a singer as he is an instrument made out of flesh. To tell you the truth, I was actually approaching this offering thinking it would sound like modern rocking avant music, but what I found in it's place was an overpowering sense of frailty and natural beauty. Claudio's often compared to the infamous Area front man Demetrio Stratos, because of his incredible talent to sing controllably in 8 different octaves. As I have found out while swapping emails with the man in question, his real and most important influence is actually Tim Buckley. Now that struck a chord with me, when he said that. I suddenly realised the frailty of the voice, the sometimes strangely wavering tonalities of his timbre, all of that sounded very much influenced by Buckley, only with Claudio you get a far more velvety delivery. Whether that's down to the beautiful Italian language, or the immense technical talent of his, I really don't know.......but there is something here folks, I'll tell ya. If you're sick of munching on the same ol same ol - in dire need of a healthy kick up your arse, then look no further, because this album will take you places in Italy you haven't even dreamed of.

I believe the progressive prog stopped a long while ago and somewhere along the line it morphed into a sticker that we nowadays interpret as music with mellotron, shape-shifts, solos and a mystic aura about it that peeps right into your soul. Well maybe not stopped completely, but if we're looking for the brand new and (sic) progressive, then why do we insist on looking in the same places as we always do? We certainly won't find 'Bath Salts' sporting any of the aforementioned holy essences of prog rock........but you find the spark. You find the same urge to make music that stretches people's sonic beliefs and will to embrace the alien. Make you think and experience something you take for granted and make you see things from a new place. Music is always ready to mislead you, and if you're wise you should allow it every chance you get.

Strange thing.....I mean music that can have this effect on me being this.....erm orchestrated. Maybe it's the supernatural surge of the vocals that entrances you with this album, but I'd like to think it's more than that. There is an immense dream world lurking in the instruments - something that takes on the form of ambient music, often put up against Claudio's slithering voice. Maybe this is more of a chamber music kinda deal? With marimbas and xylophones, acoustic string instruments and a frivolous and almost classically structured folk element in the mix, the music moves from intimate shimmers to the widest panoramic musical scenery known to man........and then I haven't even begun to mention the electronics in play - or the wonderful bass booms of the cellos.

'Bath Salts' is like opening up a musical box. It spins gracefully on it's own axis while relegating this beautiful feathery music that pirouettes and twinkles away like silver and gold and everything worth fighting for.

"Is there anyone now who can bite my beauty? Is there anyone now who can suck my beauty? Is there anyone now who can lick my beauty?"

Maybe we're so far gone that cannibalism is the last resort to really get under people's skin? To me personally, 'Bath Salts' feels like a modern voice of reason - beckoning people from deep beneath the ice - calling on them to break through the dark mirror and penetrate down into the murky waters. Dive head first into what drives us and feeds us, instead of merely perpetuating the everlasting ice- skating procedures that look oh so pretty and meaningful.........yet never describe anything about the true nature of what's hiding underneath. In that respect, you could say that 'Bath Salts' tries to reintroduce it's audience to the chilly waters slushing away under the ice like forgotten dreams and cobwebs of the mind. It wants you to see past the big hand gestures and feel the music for what it is.....and maybe in the process we'll be able to transcribe this method of experiencing life to other facets of our world.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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