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Feat. Esserelà - Tuorl CD (album) cover


Feat. Esserelà

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars Feat.Esserel' began life in Bologna in 2009 on the initiative of Francesco Ciampolini (keyboards), Renato Minguzzi (guitar) and Lorenzo Muggia (drums), three friends in love with vintage sounds, progressive rock, jazz, fusion, funk and many more. According to their website, the name of the band refers to an old dummy lying in their rehearsal room that they used to call, quite unceremoniously, just quell'esserel' (that creature over there). As time passed by, they began to bring the old dummy on stage as a prop meant to add humour and colour to their live performances and they began to introduce it as their frontman. After years of fun, hard work and a good live activity on the local scene, in 2015 the band released an interesting debut album on the independent label Joe Frassino Records, distributed in collaboration with Lizard Records.

The album title, "Tuorl", and the art cover by Michele Tomasini recall a living yolk, a kind of nucleus of vital energy in fieri, but you don't have to take too seriously this concept. In fact, what prevails in this completely instrumental work is a strong fun-loving attitude that is also mirrored by the ironic, non sense titles of the eleven tracks and by the funny pictures and drawings that you can find in the booklet. The sparkling opener "Don't leave your dinosauri at home" sets the atmosphere with its frenzied rhythm and seventies influences, followed, in the same vein, by "Anche cotoletta" (Some cutlet as well), "Il nostro batterista ha un buco nella gamba" (Our drummer has hole in the leg) and "Canguros de la ventana" (Kangaroos at the window). In my opinion, these pieces could form a perfect score for an old Italian poliziottesco film full of car chases and breathtaking rides through the streets of Milan or Rome...

On "S.r.l.'" the rhythm calms down for a while, the atmosphere becomes darker, almost spacey, then the music takes off again towards new heights and horizons. The following "No ( )" is longer, more complex but never boring. In the booklet the band thank artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Stefano Bollani and Claude Debussy for the inspiration of these last two tracks but in my opinion the band's songwriting is brilliant and personal and I think that they fully succeeded in mixing different influences into a new, tasteful brew.

"/'\ \'/ /'\ \'/ /'\ \'/" starts with a weird funky rhythm, then evolves into something else through psychedelic rides and sudden changes of mood. The following "What a (tetra) pack" is lively and brisk and leads to the more complex "Un duettr' qqua" and "Stichituffelpa rampa esserel' tum perugi'", two excellent tracks driving you through a colourful maze of sounds and colours. The funny live atmosphere of "Loop o' pool" and a short hidden track a cappella end this interesting album. If you like bands such as Calibro 35, La Batteria or Accordo dei Contrari, check it out!

Report this review (#1423350)
Posted Thursday, June 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Progressive rock and jazz/fusion related music is frequently deadly serious and overloaded with clinical stuffy playing, right? Not the case at all with Italian instrumental band Feat.EsserelĂ , and yes, that's actually the confusing band name! `EsserelĂ ' refers to a puppet that resides in the rehearsal room of the band and accompanies them on stage for live performances, and this is an early indication of the sly humour this trio apply to their music! In addition to the goofy cover art and cute cartoon illustrations throughout the CD booklet, it's pretty obvious that they don't take themselves too seriously, although they still display the expected skilful and enviable musicianship. Their debut album `Tuorl' offers plenty of jazz/fusion flair by way of snappy drumming, fiery electric guitar runs, an array of keyboard colour and that warmest of piano that Italian musicians play so beautifully, and it might just be one of the most energetic, lively and fun albums of 2015!

Much of the album is made up of shorter punchy pieces full of energy. Of some of the highlights, manic spastic bursts of Francesco Ciampolini's delirious Hammond organ, Renato Minguzzi's scorching guitar and Lorenzo Muggias's thrashing drumming tear through the amusingly titled opener `Don't Leave Your Dinosauri at Home'. There's plenty of thrashing guts to `Anche Cotoletta', and the foot-tapping beat and singing Hammond throughout `Il Nostra...' holds a Caravan-like playfulness before some smoking hot wailing guitar soloing. Both `What a (Tetra) Pack' and, with its sprightly piano, `Canguros...' could almost be lighter moments off the Seventies Focus albums, and `Symbols' is a grunting groover that almost breaks out disco beats.

But it's the longer pieces that really hint at what the band can do. Although the transitions in the three part `S.R.L.A' aren't too smooth, the piece begins as a drifting distorted guitar drone, crashes into a gutsy guitar drive and closes on a soothing piano finale. Despite all the movement and frenetic diversions elsewhere on the disc, it's when the band settles down a little and offers something a bit more emotional and moving that they really impress. Running over eight minutes, `No ( )' allows plenty of build and controlled flights of jazzy instrumental moods, jumping back and forth between hot guitar runs and piano that's breezy and dazzling, and when called on, Ciampolini displays classy restraint and intelligent thoughtfulness. The peppy ending closes on a surprising quirky Gentle Giant-like bounciness! Breezy late-night piano vibes stroll through `Un Duettrè' Qqua' before laid-back guitar cruises alongside it, another standout moment on a great disc.

Admittedly eleven tracks is probably a bit too many, with occasional repetition creeping in here and there, and some of the shorter pieces would benefit from being developed more and extended rather than being overloaded with little ideas thrown together in the future. But the skill with which so many rapid changes of direction are delivered by the band is stunning, even more impressive considering it's a debut album, and their music in infectious, full of life and spontaneity. Feat.EsserelĂ  are definitely a talented Italian band to keep an eye on in the future, so please investigate this tireless and playful album!

Four stars.

Report this review (#1451290)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | Review Permalink

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