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(49:52, Altrock Records)
TRACK LIST: Il Misantropo Felice: 1. A Window Closes 3:34 2. Putamen 7:26 3. Beginners Dance Lessons 3:23 4. Petit Dejeuner Chez Picabi 5:51 5. Sperduto Nella Camera Isterica 8:12 6. Le Furieux Hypothetique 3:51 7. Tzig Tzag Tzara 5:51 8. After the Last Silence 11:44 LINEUP: Rocco Lomonaco – guitars, banjo Simona Armenise – guitars, mandolin Michele Fracchiolla – drums, mallet percussion Francesco Lorenza – oboe, English horn Gianfranco Menzella – saxophone Giuseppe Manfredi – keyboards Francesco Manfredi – clarinet Michele Motola – saxophone Francesco Tritto – trombone Francesco Panico – trumpet Riccardo Rinaldi – bassoon Vito Verni – French horn Antonio Dambra – flutes Alessio Anzivino – tuba Giuliana Di Mitrio – vocals Tommaso De Vito – bass Grazia De Vito – violin Paola Candia – cello Duilio Maci – violin
Prolusion. The Italian ensemble BREZNEV FUN CLUB is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Rocco Lomonaco. From what I understand, he has composed material of various kinds ever since the early ‘90s, and formed the Breznev Fun Club as the vehicle to record his works. Two albums have been released under this moniker to date. "Il Misantropo Felice" is the most recent of these, released by the Italian label Altrock Records in 2015.
Analysis. The music of Breznev Fun Club is, arguably, even more idiosyncratic than the band name may lead one to suspect. Those fond of progressive rock in general may not actually be a key audience for this production at all, at least as I experience it, as the music explored here appears to have the foundation in a rather different type of music altogether. That there are rock music elements present appears to be more of an incidental feature, for me indicating a composer utilizing all readily available elements in the instrumental department to a much greater extent than a composer that seeks to expand the boundaries of rock music. I hear and understand this production primarily as a work of classical music. Modern classical music for sure, with room for facets of both jazz and rock music to be incorporated into a well worked out whole, but classical music nevertheless. There's also an ongoing theme explored here; the composer indicates in the liner notes that the expression "Traumarbeit" might just be a feature one needs to be familiar with to decode the theme explored, adding a few details to that context that I'll leave for the actual buyers of this CD to read about. It's not a complicated one, as far as themes and contexts go, at least not in description, but one that opens up a world of opportunities for a composer. The album itself comes across as a total album experience, as theme-based productions often do, with a defined starting point, gradually developing towards a logical conclusion. In this case with a relatively careful, harmonic opening, revolving around distinct harmony-based arrangements, incorporating traditional classical music with some jazz flavoring and chamber rock details added in, gradually developing to become steadily more challenging, with the number of abrupt shifts, chaotic elements and angular sounding details increasing as the composition turns into an almost sickly sounding, avant-garde-oriented affair, revolving around a contemporary experimental classical music sound that incorporates elements of avant-garde progressive rock as well, some details borrowed from experimental and possibly free form jazz. In the last phase of this eight-part modern symphony we're taken back towards the beginning again, with occasional subtle reminders from the most chaotic sequences, subtly inserted, but dwindling in intensity and then disappearing as the composition eventually subsides into a gentle concluding phase leading to silence. The journey completed, or, if you like, the full circle or cycle complete. For what it is I'd describe this as an accomplished production, and a fairly challenging one at that. I'll readily admit that material of this particular nature is a bit removed from the kind of music closest to my own heart, but I have listened to enough music over the years to easily comprehend and understand that this is also a very well made specimen of its kind. I'll also note that the creator of this material has a good taste for fun and wit, and the remark in the liner notes, stating that "None of the musicians has been mistreated while recording the album", documents that aspect quite nicely and in a warm, humorous manner at that.
Conclusion. I experience and understand the music of Breznev Fun Club as contemporary neoclassical music first and foremost, and a fairly challenging example of that type of music as such. Elements from jazz, avant-garde progressive rock and chamber rock are incorporated into this greater whole, and while my experience is that these are supplemental details, one might easily argue otherwise as well. That depends on the ears and mind of the listener, I guess, as well as musical knowledge: In that department my position as a listener without theoretical or musical training otherwise may well leave me with a disadvantage. Still, those with a taste for challenging contemporary music within the boundaries described are well advised to seek out this production, as I suspect most with a taste for challenging escapades within those territories should find this album to be a rewarding experience.
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