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Nichelodeon - NichelOdeon

NICHELODEON "BATH SALTS" + INSONAR "L'ENFANT ET LE MÉNURE"

Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.68 | 12 ratings

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Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
3 stars No Van Goghs please

I reviewed the album 'Bath Salts' a little while back and was completely taken aback by the pirouetting beauty that had unveiled before me - especially seeing as I'd approached the music thinking it would be some kind of avant prog with strange fittings and angular motifs up the wazoo. That was however so far from the truth, that I today laugh a little when I think back to my opening meeting with this Italian produce...

The two missing discs I have yet to review are a product of Claudio Milano's musical flirtings, and I'll tell you right away: this guy must be doing something right and genuinely interesting, as musicians like Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto, Dieter Moebius, Paolo Tofani and Nik Turner agreed to take part in the making of these, and they are just a small fraction of the incredibly talented crew supporting the all encompassing, wild, frail, gentle and erratic vocals of Claudio. Where each of these fit in on the two albums is strictly guess work on my behalf, but I am quite sure I've spotted both Moebius and Mastelotto a fair few times during the playing time.

The music on offer is closer to what most of us here would identify as 'prog rock', and probably also a tad more approachable than 'Bath Salts' itself, but that doesn't take away from the overt progressive tendencies at it's core. Whether conveyed by a scarecrow of voices all emanating from the man himself, sounding particularly close to that of siren singing and inspired mermaid yawns, or through ambient flusters of electronics, gentle Italian guitar figurines or maybe some good old piano taken straight out of the symphonic prog cookbook, you're almost certain to intercept the more rooted feel of these records. They're earthier and more tangible compared to the, at times, almost hovering musical box presence of Bath Salts.

Come to think of it: imagine Dead Can Dance on some terrible Daturah inflicted drug conjuring up orchestral synths, strings, fizzing electronics and then being interrupted by some King Crimson musicians who just came from an hour long free improvisation jam, and you're not that far off...

Alright if you think you got it pegged down, then add some cabaret music, backwards blues, jazz rock, art rock and a slow moving presence that opens up ever so gently to you over the course of the individual tracks.

Criss crossing between Italian and the English lingo, the music never feels mismatched or thrown on the two albums for feck's sake. It feels natural and gives to the listener a kick in his kidneys - something to distract him from the lavish and colourful cover art.

As to which one I prefer of these two parts of 'Bath Salts', then I have to go for the original album. While you do get a fair whiff of the prog rock of old, as well as some clear parallels to the early RIO scene, on these two InSonar releases, and while they still come across infinitely modern and original, there's just something about Bath Salts that draws me in, gives it the edge.

For any of you people wanting to step out of your sonic routines and take the plunge in something brand new, and, for this kind of music, rather approachable, then by all means go get this stunning Nichelodeon release. It comes in a beautiful blue packing with old school string tied around, almost like a shoelace.

I remember saying to Claudio, that he shouldn't worry too much. Sure people will pick up on some of the most boundary pushing prog that's currently being made. "Sure thing!" I said I'd promise him he wouldn't end up as some kind of musical Van Gogh, who many years from now, after he's long dead and gone, will be looked back on as one of the most progressive and versatile vocalists of the new century. Let's give the living credit while they roam the airwaves eh? 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |

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