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Lorenzo Monni - Grey Swans of Extremistan CD (album) cover

GREY SWANS OF EXTREMISTAN

Lorenzo Monni

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.33 | 6 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Grey is the colour and more guitar-centric

Lorenzo Monni is a composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Cagliari in 1986. After studying classical music as a child he switched to guitar and became interested in sound experimentation. Now in college he already has three full original albums to his credit. His latest work is 2010's "Grey Swans of Extremistan" and this one seems even more influenced by Fripp and Belew. It was recorded at Artisound Studio in Venice and released on the Lizard Records label.

Whereas the previous album "Debris" seemed to be more open-ended, the music of Grey Swan seems more deliberate and the songs more unified in vision. Where "Debris" was more a collection of diverse vignettes, Grey Swan focuses much more on the guitar. There is more rock here as well as Monni has brought human drummers on board for the new material, and his playing seems more biting and less laid-back. Some songs of Grey Swan take a darker and more dissonant tone than the often playful daylight feelings of "Debris." Here the material can drift into somewhat harsh droning loops and cloudier chord progressions, although there are some lighter moments as well, like "The Mysterious Cyclist of Cyclette," a pop-shuffle that reminds me of "Walk Like an Egyptian" of all things. That one is a real departure however, and most of the album focuses on slowly building guitar and rhythm pieces of variable mood. "Zeitgeber" is quite heavy, almost industrial sounding, a bit of Toby Driver. My highlights would veer to the more atmospheric playing on "Amarcord" and "Doggerel of the Deep." The former features beautiful leads over bright chords and bass guitar, to some hand percussion, before changing to acoustic strumming. The latter "Doggerel" could be a track from "Insurgentes" starting somewhat moody and fairly quiet, then adding handclaps and drumming, building to some forceful sections before ending in a droning haze.

This is another impressive step for Monni as he continues what promises to be a very eclectic career. For my tastes though I much preferred the previous album (see my Debris review) which just had more variations and a bit more whimsy. I would like to see Monni work with a great Italian language vocalist in the future, perhaps do something in the avant-classical vein like Opus Avantra, given his classical background. But wherever he goes next I'll be dying to check it out.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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