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Lorenzo Monni

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Lorenzo Monni Grey Swans of Extremistan album cover
3.33 | 7 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cascade (5:06)
2. Contrary Winds (8:11)
3. Doggerel Of The Deep (7:35)
4. The Mysterious Cyclist Of Cyclette (5:22)
5. Amarcord (5:05)
6. The Art Of Being Amazed (4:52)
7. Mosquitos Will Defeat FBI (3:05)
8. Zeitgeber (5:56)
9. Once Upon A Time In Extremistan (4:48)

Line-up / Musicians

- Lorenzo Monni / guitars, bass, loops
- Luca Visentin / drums
- Fabio Ricci / drums

Releases information

Lizard (LZ), ZEIT CD 004
Released 19 September 2010

Thanks to avestin for the addition
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LORENZO MONNI Grey Swans of Extremistan ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (71%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LORENZO MONNI Grey Swans of Extremistan reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo MONNI only turns 25 this year if the biographical information on him is correct. And yet he's already crafted and released three full-length albums, of which "Grey Swans of Extremistan" from 2010 is the most recent. Like his previous two efforts, it has been issued under a Creative Commons license, and besides being available as a CD this production is also available as a legally free download on the artist's webpage.

Lorenzo Monni's third full-length production "Grey Swans of Extremistan" is a hard to define, instrumental art rock album of good quality and with quite a few inventive and creative twists to it. World music, post-rock and jazz fusion appear to form the outer boundaries in terms of stylistic expression; classical music and psychedelic rock might be appended to such a description as well. If instrumental art rock with quirky details, sophisticated features and a certain emphasis on showcasing the creative possibilities the guitar is capable of in the hands of an inventive mind sound intriguing this is a CD that should prove appealing. As it is downloadable for free from the artist's website, head over there and find out for yourself.

Review by andrea
3 stars In 2010 Lorenzo Monni released his third album, 'Grey Swans Of Extremistan', on the independent label Lizard Records. It was recorded with the help of Luca Visentin (drums, production, mixing, mastering) and Luca Ricci (drums) and, according to the liner notes, it's a kind of concept album inspired by The Black Swan, a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese American essayist whose work focuses on issues such as randomness and probability. The overall sound is guitar driven and recalls post-rock or math rock atmospheres without being derivative. This time Lorenzo Monni avoided 'the cascades of synths' that you can find on his previous work but the final result is quite good anyway.

The album is completely instrumental and is divided in two acts. The first act is titled 'The Landscape of Extremistan' and features three tracks linked together. The suggestive opener 'Cascade' begins softly and sets a mysterious atmosphere with Middle-Eastern flavours, then a steady marching beat starts pulsing... 'Contrary Winds' and 'Doggered Of The Deep' follow mixing experimental passages and interesting melodic lines with interesting results.

The second act is titled 'Grey Swans' and features six tracks. It begins with the dynamic, cheerful 'The Mysterious Cyclist Of Cyclette', then comes the dreamy, ethereal 'Amarcord' followed by 'The Act Of Being Amazed' where you can find some nice, particular Latin American touches. The short 'Mosquitos Will Defeat F.B.I' and the experimental 'Zeitgeber' (where Lorenzo Monni 'plays' also an hairdryer) in my opinion are not completely convincing but the conclusive 'Once Upon A Time In Extremistan' is an excellent track full of energy. On the whole a good album but probably the nice art work by Bridget Farmer describes this album better than my words...

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