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Picchio Dal Pozzo - Picchio Dal Pozzo  CD (album) cover

PICCHIO DAL POZZO

Picchio Dal Pozzo

 

Canterbury Scene

4.05 | 202 ratings

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LinusW
Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
5 stars An irreverent little bundle of fun this one.

Approaching music in much the same way as the Canterbury-style bands of Britain, Picchio dal Pozzo forges a unique fusion of relatively free-form jazz-tinged progressive music with a healthy dollop of melody and motifs from the Italian tradition and a handful of psychedelic excursions. All in all it creates a loose, breezy and inviting atmosphere full of attention to minute details and first and foremost, a sense of creative joy.

A more general defining sound is hard to single out here, but I guess that the basis is best described as jazz-based somewhere underneath all that is going on, with familiar rhythms and motifs of that genre popping up here and there to varying degrees in different songs. But they rarely stay like that for long, serving more like anchors or links in the ever-shifting soundscape here. Just as often songs descend into near-symphonic or folk territory, with melodious and delicate flute, guitar and keys that feel pleasantly Italian. Another time perhaps into a darkly cerebral space-rock passage; rhythmically disciplined and oppressive and hazy with strange electronic effects and percussion. A playful avant sound collage via Area-like free-jazz improvisation, an atmospheric passage of understated, whirling synthesizer topped with the most delicate of percussion. Breezy lounge-jazz bit for balance. A bit of the more menacing and earnest sides of RPI. Leave to simmer for forty minutes. Et voilą!

It is a fairly eclectic album, as you might have guessed, which is always interesting and rewarding for the listener, but its main strength is how these disparate influences and styles seep into each other and how organically they all come together. It is a beautiful fusion, where contrasts and surfaces of friction serve to underline each other and enhance each other's qualities. Songs are rich, to say the least, and rather busy - because even though most of them move about in a rather leisurely pace they are brim-filled with detail; spindly guitar, nimble percussion (especially some beautiful xylophone work, which adds a delicate, crisp almost frail timbre of utter loveliness and sometimes even hints of Gentle Giant), savoury brass instruments and keys used in all sorts of manners (piano like falling rain, buzzing, jagged electronic noises, warm and wholesome organ - the list goes on).

Permeating all this instrumental prowess and stylistic fusion is a warm form of zaniness, a kind of chaotic lack of respect and a will not to approach the music so seriously. An embrace of cheerful insanity if you will, or downright flippant, and perhaps that is one of the likenesses to Gong some reviewers have pointed out. Although I think it is always there, the most apparent expression is found in the vocal department, where voice is used as just another instrument. Fitting that to some of the various atmospheres on these songs make for rather interesting and humorous end results.

With the exception of the darker sounds on the track Seppia and a willingness to dive into murkier experimental waters here and there, Picchio dal Pozzo's debut is a warm, sunny and surprisingly accessible affair. Charming, even a bit quaint, one might say, but never boring or trite. Quite the opposite. It is one of the finest musical experiences out there.

5 stars.

//LinusW

LinusW | 5/5 |

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