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Nichelodeon - Musica Cruda CD (album) cover

MUSICA CRUDA

Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.02 | 4 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian band NICHELODEON have been around in one form or another, rather literally speaking in this case, since 2007. A substantial amount of music have been released by the band over the now seven years they have been around, both live and studio productions, and even a DVD. "Musica Cruda" is the most recent production of their at the time of writing, and is a strictly limited production that was sent to a select audience in the summer of 2013.

Nicheloden is an ensemble that perhaps isn't as well known as they should be, but those aware of the band and their releases generally find their brand of avant-oriented, experimental music to be both interesting and intriguing. This is a band that tends to shy away from style conventions and a regular approach to the art of writing and performing music, and much revolves around the vocal talents of main man Claudio Milano, a vocalist with an impressive range, a strong voice and a keen sense of the theatrical.

"Musica Cruda" is a very different production to be released under the Nicheloden moniker however. Not because it is a short, concise production featuring either live on stage or live in studio recordings, nor because the main emphasis is on material previously recorded and released in alternate versions, but rather that this is, strictly speaking, not a band performance.

Apart from the a cappella studio recordings, arguably most intriguing on a technical level, this is a live performance by a duo rather than a band. Claudio Milano on vocals and Raoul Moretti on everything else. The else in question plucked string instruments. Listening to Nichelodeon's compositions explored in such a sparse arrangement is a vastly different experience than exploring them as performed by a full band, and at least as far as I'm concerned many of these songs comes across as more compelling in this simpler guise, and arguably more interesting as well.

The premise of all the live recordings is a simple but effective one: Plucked strings, dark and light in tone, used as the foundation for Milano's impressive vocal capabilities, and catering for sound in the intermediate sequences between the vocal passages when applicable. The contrast between the brittle light tones, the warmer organic dark tones and Milano's expressive and vibrant voice is a highly compelling one, the vocals here literally carrying the songs adding nerve and tension by the truckload. From light to dark, from ominous to jubilant, from harmonic and controlled to more experimental and wild, but still tightly controlled.

"Musica Cruda" is an album that first and foremost should be regarded as a celebration of vocals I guess. On how to use range, pace and intensity to make the vocals as vibrant and compelling as possible, yet within a context where the vocals have something to play upon, exploring the capabilities and possibilities within a more or less clearly defined framework. On a more superficial level, one might state that if you enjoy high quality vocals and plucked string instruments combined this is an album you most likely will appreciate greatly. The end result is much more than the sum of it's parts of course, but as a general description this should suffice.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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