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(50:58; Eclectic Productions)
TRACK LIST: 1. Birth of a Flower (In a Post-Atomic Landscape) - Part 1 7:48 2. Birth of a Flower (In a Post-Atomic Landscape) - Part 2 5:11 3. Fujiko Mine - Part 1 2:38 4. Irrational Thoughts 4:52 5. Zero Gravity in My Lair 10:46 6. Lost in Space 3:43 7. Talkin' to an Alien About Eternity 14:27 8. Fujiko Mine - Part 2 1:33 LINEUP: Stefano Pontani - guityars, loops Massimo Sergi - piano, synthesizers Domenico Dente - bass Gianluca Livi - drums, percussion, noises
Prolusion. Italian composer and musician Gianluva LIVI has his most notable background as a member and co-founder of retro hard rock band Anno Mundi, and have released a small handful of albums with that band. A few years back he wanted to explore some ideas that didn't fit the scope of his main band, and these creations were collected on the album "Fleeting Steps", Livi's first solo album, which was released through the label Eclectic Productions in 2017.
Analysis. Those who know and are familiar with Livi's band Anno Mundi will probably be rather surprised when they explore the contents of this album. As will those who bring some presumptions to the table as far as what a solo album by a member of a retro-oriented hard rock band may sound like. In simple terms, I rather suspect that the number of hard rock fans and Anno Mundi fans that will appreciate the contents of this production will be in a strict minority. As this creation is radically different from the aforementioned type of material on just about all levels. The common denominator throughout this album are creations that use, explore and exploit sound constellations of various kinds, with perhaps something of a backbone in ambient music. Soft, floating sounds are rather abundant throughout, as are electronic sounds and effects, but the manner in which they are used and the totality of the different soundscapes is rather more challenging than mere ambient music. The shorter creations are probably the ones that are easiest to become engaged in. Cosmic sounds, reverbs, shimmering textures that come and go and floating guitar textures with something of a Frippian touch to them are all common details on these, but with a substantial amount of variation in the elements used and expressions given from one creation to the next. From floating sound tapestries in interwoven movements on the opening song of this CD to the dark, ominous and otherworldly sounds that concludes this production, and everything in between those. Up to and including the more piano dominated second track, which actually is the second part of the opening song, that takes the floating sounds from the first part and gradually moves and transforms itself into a more strict piano piece with references to both classical music and, at least to some extent, jazz. All of the shorter cuts on this album brings something different to the table, but with ambient sounds, effects and often a cosmic or futuristic shine as recurring elements. The two longer creations on this album exist on a slightly different plane. More chaotic, possibly improvised in nature, and certainly more loose and free in form, shape and execution. This is ambient music and noisescapes combined into one, with liberal amounts of effects coming and going throughout. Pieces where floating sounds, more and less twisted effects, rhythm details and otherworldly atmospheres blends into intricate tapestries with shapes and forms of unknown origins not easily identified. Personally I find these longer creations to be just a bit too meandering and loose in shape and form, while the shorter pieces here were generally rather more intriguing, some of them managing to intrigue despite featuring elements and developments that struck me as both odd and somewhat counter-intuitive. In essence a case of odd elements and details that works in the greater scope of things. Whether this is by plan or accident I can't tell though, all I can say is that it somehow works out. A good example of this can be heard on the track 'Lost in Space'.
Conclusion. On his first solo album, Gianluca Livi takes an innovative approach to the art of creating ambient music, by expanding the boundaries and creating music that is much more than mere ambient music. Cosmic and futuristic sounds has just as natural a place here as delicate and expressive piano details, and the use of different kinds of noises and treated and sometimes twisted sound details gives the material a much more challenging nature, emphasizing the fact that ambient music doesn't equal easy listening music by default. An album for those interested in ambient music explored in a rather more challenging manner.
Progmessor: August 9th 2019
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