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Oteme - 2013 - "Il Giardino Disincantato"

(61:33, Edd Strapontins)


1.  Mattino 2:09
2.  Caduta Massi 6:07
3.  Dal Recinto 3:58
4.  Palude del Diavolo 4:14
5.  Tema dei Campi 5:01
6.  Ed Io Non C’Ero 4:59
7.  Dite a Mia Moglie 5:05
8.  Il Giardino Disincantato 8:43
9.  Sopra Tutto e Tutti 9:00
10. Per Mano Conduco Matilde 4:35
11. Terre Emerse 7:42


Lorenzo Del Pecchia – clarinets 
Valeria Marzocchi – flute; vocals
Nicola Bimbi – oboe, English horn
Stefano Giannotti – vocals; guitars
Emanuela Lari – keyboards; vocals
Valentina Cinquini – harp; vocals
Gabriele Michetti – bass; vocals
Matteo Cammisa – percussion 
Maicol Pucci – trumpet 
Thomas Bloch -  glass harmonica

Prolusion. The Italian project OTEME (an abbreviation of Osservatorio Delle Terre Emerse) was formed in 2010 by noted composer and musician Stefano Giannotti, a veteran in the field of experimental music with a career that stretches back to the 80's. "Il Giardino Disincantato" is the first production by this venture, and was released on the Edd Strapontins label in 2013.

Analysis. Experimental music may be a lot of things, and in this case we're dealing with an artist whose palette covers a vast canvas encompassing a number of different outlets, of which the greater amount is of a fairly accessible nature. That the material on this album was developed over a 20-year long period is probably a key reason for the diversity of this production, and due to that this is a CD that can't be readily placed within a specific context as such either. The main recurring element of note to me is the vocals. Standalone male vocals and female vocals, dual male and female vocals, with and without backing vocals providing tight, smooth and beautiful vocal harmonies. The vocals may be paired of with acoustic guitars or harp, on opening creation Mattino the glass harmonica is the single instrument providing an ethereal cosmic texture, on other occasions a more richly textured landscape closer to chamber rock in style and expression supports the various vocal displays. The vocals are a key feature when present, and as I experience this production this is a CD that at least in part celebrates the use of carefully controlled vocals as an instrument in its own right just as much as they are used to give life to the lyrical contents. Otherwise we're treated to a select few excursions that reside safely within a chamber rock context, and very well made ones at that as I experience them, while a composition like Tema dei Campi, with its blend of cold electronic sounds, flute, and what sounds like clarinet and oboe, weaves an intriguing landscape with occasional jazz-tinged bass support in an ebb and flow structure that for me defies any attempt at categorizing whatsoever, but comes across as a striking and beautiful piece of music nonetheless. As one of many compositions that feature elements from classical music and jazz, with or without details that may or may not be traced back to other stylistic directions as well. And the creation that concludes this production, Terre Emerse (Bolero Primo), is a creation that I'd describe as more of a contemporary classical music oriented one, subtly unnerving and strikingly beautiful, and while the latter is a description that can be used about this album as a whole the unnerving atmosphere is one where this composition is an exception.

Conclusion. Oteme's debut album "Il Giardino Disincantato" is a production where words like beautiful and elegant beg to be used multiple times, and a recording hard to describe without using words like experimental and contemporary as well. Using elements from classical music, jazz, rock as well as details harder to place inside any of the big genre umbrellas, this is a production that should be sought out by those who tend to enjoy music that exists outside of the common norms, especially those who enjoy productions of that kind that manage to maintain a highly accessible nature and manage to combine that with a challenging approach and execution.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: August 14, 2014
The Rating Room

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