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Nichelodeon - Il gioco del silenzio CD (album) cover





3.88 | 46 ratings

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Music By Mail
4 stars In 2007, appearing from nowhere, a voice suddenly invaded the Italian musical scene and materialized on a first self produced CD. A name began to be whispered on lips, even outside Italy: Nichelodeon! We are now in 2010 and a second album is released, this time on a well known and appreciated Italian label, Lizard Records. Aren't we facing a true success story? What is the secret behind this raising appeal and who the f... are Nichelodeon? Well, though being a collective affair, Nichelodeon is still the organised and haunted chaos of Claudio Milano and it is really a project centered on voice, Claudio's voice and the chameleon-like use he makes of it. For those still unfamiliar with him, here's a short recapitulation: with a warm and precise tone, Milano masters the change of registers and within a second is able to go from a deep whispering to a high falsetto shouting, all this effortless! And like a vocal spider, he then threads his musical web around this voice; the mesh patiently built reaches many corners: avant garde, atonality, plenty of piano clusters, electric guitars fed with a prog-rock spirit, folk hints, shadows of tango, Italian popular street music, modern 20th century classical music, noise. All this was already firmly shaped on the first album! What happened between the first and the second is not unlike what happens with wine: the colours get more dense, the taste has more depth and the aromas get more suble. Milano succeeds in bringing in new ways of using his voice, not necessarily upfront in the mix but with a precise thinking of where it has to be placed and how it must function; evil laughes rhythmically shaped in the bacground (track 4), tapping on his cheeks as a beat box (track 9), vocal drone sounding like if it was produced by a bass or cello, coupled to a sustained el guitar, etc... The music of Nichelodeon is a music of contrasts, hugely fractal and extremely conscious of the control of dynamics; Claudio Milano wants to surprise you at any moment and all the time! If a sweet melody is sung at the start of a tune, be sure of the following: 1) small noisy instruments will creep in the background and try to destabilize your audio confort 2) the sweetness will morph in wildness and agony will try to triumph before being abruptly thrown out by a street music played by an accordion or some dance drone paced by a clarinet or .... you choose .... contrasts! 3) Claudio's voice will NEVER stay the same place ... his vocal chords function like a yo-yo!

And to be honest, so much pounding requires really really much from you, the listener! I'm wondering if *rest* is a banned word in Claudio's world; he's always watching you, ready to attack, slowly, loudly, atonally, with fear in mind! This brings me to the last point: voice is connected to words and Claudio's lyrics are STRONG, disturbing, wanting to have you think about things! There are all translated in English in the gracious booklet coming along with the CD and headed (front and back cover) with great paintings.

So now, it's up to you: are you ready for intelligent madness?

Music By Mail | 4/5 |


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