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Deus Ex Machina - Equilibrismo da Insofferenza CD (album) cover


Deus Ex Machina


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 59 ratings

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4 stars As with the other Deus Ex Machina album that I have reviewed (DE REPUBLICA), EQUILIBRISMO DA INSOFFERENZA, the unique Italian sextet's fifth release, is decidedly not for the faint of heart! This is wildly original music, with shades of Gentle Giant (especially in the guitar and organ), Zappa, and frantic jazz fusion in the mix. Factor in singer Alberto Piras' trademark Latin vocals (I don't know what the heck he's singing about -- but he's very passionate about it!), and you have a highly original and eclectic musical amalgam. (I, for one, would hesitate to classify the output of DEM as "Italian symphonic progressive." It is indubitably "Italian" and "progressive," but the band's sound bears very little resemblance to that of groups like PFM or Banco, who typify the sub-genre.)

This disc resides more firmly in the jazz fusion vein than DE REPUBLICA, with brass and electric piano figuring heavily in the mix. Overall, I find the songs to be more "accessible" (a relative concept!) than those found on the earlier album. Of the eight "real' tracks (the opener is a mere eight second fragment, and there are only nine, rather than ten tracks, as erroneously listed here), I particularly like "Distrazione Infinita," which has a rather Zappa-esque feel, and features some outstanding violin, trumpet, electric piano, and pseudo-operatic vocals.

My overall favourite, though, is "Cosmopolitismo," which, for me, evokes Gentle Giant (albeit on amphetamine!) in its violin, cutting guitar, and infectious, statacco organ work. The sudden shifts in direction and tempo are unbelievably precise (and would seem to be beyond the ability of mere mortals to execute) and Piras shows that he can hold a high note longer than one would think humanly possible. To draw a visual analogy, this one reminds me of a fast-motion, time-lapse film of a busy city, with the clouds racing across the sky, and the cars and people scurrying around like so many demented ants. Positively pyrotechnic!

The fourth track, "Amori Difficili" ("Tough Love?"), is a surprisingly conventional acoustic guitar and fretless bass duet, which slows down the pace of the proceedings, and offers the listener some breathing room, even as it impresses with its players' obvious virtuosity. (The track times given here are incorrect, by the way; this song runs to only 5:23, and not 10:33, as listed.)

The following "Incomunicabilita," is, for DEM, a more laid-back number, which again sees Piras stretching his vocal cords to their impressive limit; the song also incorporates some tight brass.

Next up is the title track, another slower offering that opens with drummer Claudio Trotta jazzily demonstrating his mastery of his kit, before mutating into a terrific and diverse piece of fusion, with some particularly blistering electric guitar from superb axeman Maurino Collina.

"Dove Non puo Esserci Contraddizione" showcases Deus Ex Machina's amazing ability to repeatedly pull off complex time and mood shifts. This one really encapsulates the group's musical diversity, accomplishment and originality. The syncopation between the drums and organ is especially impressive.

"Trot-tronic" is noteworthy for its frenetic, ELP-like, "computer-gone-mad" synth work -- which might just have you scurrying from the room, in fear that your stereo is possessed, and about to embark on a bloody, murderous rampage!

The final song, "La Fine Del Mondo," is an over sixteen-minute opus that encompasses many themes and moods within its considerable breadth, and finds the brass once more to the fore. Though the longest song on the CD, it is the very antithesis of "plodding" or boring!

Thus, Deus Ex Machina's EQUILIBRISMO DA INSOFFERENZA is a brilliant album that is highly recommended, but -- as with the group's entire output, I'm certain -- suited only to the most adventurous of music fans!

Peter | 4/5 |


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