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Cristiano Mussi - 2008 - "Tilt"

(42:03, Musea Parallele Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Dove Tutto Va 7:04 	
2.  Phil 2:44 	
3.  Di Fronte al Mare 2:33 	
4.  Un Mondo Blu 3:35 	
5.  La Lunga Strada 6:07 	
6.  Ombre del Tempo 6:00 	
7.  Dicembre 14:00


Cristiano Mussi – guitars, bass 
Gianni Pilotto – drums

Prolusion. Cristiano MUSSI is an Italian guitarist who was born in 1968. He is a self-taught guitarist and has been active making and playing music since the ‘80s. "Tilt" is his third solo production, originally self-released in 2006 and reissued in 2008 on Musea Parallele, a sub-label of Musea Records.

Analysis. As Mussi is a guitarist, it's not a big surprise that this is a production dominated by said instrument, neither is the fact that this is an all-instrumental release. It has been more or less fashionable for the last 25 years or so for guitarists to release albums showcasing their technical and compositional skills. In this case the aim seems to be somewhat different though, and I would guess that this creation first and foremost is meant to highlight compositional skills. Not that the compositions here are completely lacking in technical details; there are some rather nice passages here and there where the main melodic theme is created by way of multiple, fragmented layers provided by acoustic and clean electric guitars, and pleasant parts with flowing, plucked, melody lines are a common feature throughout. But these aspects of the album are tools rather than virtuosic showoffs, used to provide details and nuances in the compositions and not set up to be dominant aspects of the individual tracks where these elements are used. Instead, Mussi opts to highlight melodies and melodic explorations. He explores a set number of themes on each composition, going back and forth between the various moods he wants to explore, sometimes adding slight variations to the passages on repetition. Multiple layers of guitars are used throughout, most times mixing undistorted electric guitar with one or more acoustic ones. Both the electric and acoustic guitars are utilized to provide soloing and in some instances Mussi choose to avoid soloing all together, concentrating on mood variation. The songs are highly melodic, laidback and pleasant in mood and atmosphere. There are no sharp edges or sounds, no passages showcasing extreme technical skills, no truly complex explorations to be found. The tracks are similar in mood and sound and unfortunately they don't contain any surprising elements either. There's a distinct lack of the unexpected on this production, no truly compelling moments that demand the listeners’ attention, nothing that makes you sit up and take notice. Mellow, melodic and dreamy are keywords for this release, and even the last composition Dicembre, an epic-length composition divided into five segments, fails to yield any moments beyond the scope of nice music, despite the somewhat rougher blues tinged atmosphere explored in this particular composition. The style and sound of this album reminded me rather strongly of an album by Wishbone Ash called "Nouveau Calls", issued in the mid eighties. The themes, melodies and sound are quite similar, but on "Tilt" the pace is slower, the textures less elaborate and the virtuosic elements lacking: Mussi takes on a highly simplified version of the musical territory explored by Wishbone Ash back then, similar in sound but not in scope.

Conclusion. If mellow, dreamy and laidback guitar dominated music is to your liking, this production by Italian guitarist Cristiano Mussi might be worthwhile investigating, and people looking for nice and pleasant background music should find this production to be interesting too. Those looking for something truly creative and adventurous will probably find this creation to be less interesting and should approach this one with caution.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 17, 2009
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records
Cristiano Mussi


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