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(56:56; Ma.Ra.Cash Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. La Grande Volta 2:23 2. Sara Il Temporale 3:38 3. Bianco Richiamo 3:22 4. Camminavo 6:38 5. L'Agguato 2:28 6. L'Abbandono 3:48 7. Il Mutamento 1:59 8. Dopo La Pioggia 5:00 9. Tracce Nel Nulla 25:48 10. Un’altra Volta 1:52 LINE UP : Valeria Marzocchi - flute Linda Matteucci - flute Nicola Bimbi - oboe, English horn Giorgio Berrugi - clarinet Lorenzo Del Pecchia - clarinet Marco Donatelli - bassoon Maicol Pucci - trumpet, flugelhorn Marco Fagioli - tuba Stefano Giannotti - vocals, piano, guitars, banjo, organ, harp, percussion Valentina Cinquini - harp Emanuela Lari - vocals, keyboards Pierluigi Papeschi - guitars Milko Ambrogini - bass Riccardo Ienna - drums, percussion
Prolusion. Italian band Oteme is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Stefano Giannotti, and was formed back in 2010. From 2013 and onward the band have released new material at a steady pace, with four studio productions available at the time of writing. The album "L'Agguato, l'Abbandono, il Mutamento" dates back to 2016, and was released through Italian label Ma.Ra. Cash Records.
Analysis. You won't have to listen long to this album to understand that this is a production residing safely within a more avant-oriented corner of the progressive rock universe. This is an unconventional production in many ways, even if drawing in impulses from familiar sources, and the music as such probably exists outside of a regular rock spectrum as such too. One might say that this album has three different kinds of songs present. The more challenging type of material here draw in impulses from classical music, with a liberal presence of reed instruments first and foremost, and explore impulses and melodies with a classical music foundation in more of a free form mode and mood. Classical music given a free form jazz makeover if you like. The second type of compositions here are songs with a much softer and flowing orientation, drawing upon a more distinct regular jazz orientation in general with the bass and the drums vital ingredients for this association to develop. The arrangements themselves are again dominated by reed instruments, and they have a bit more of a chamber music feel to them in these compositions. If chamber jazz is an orientation this is a good example of that, and explored in a compelling, engaging and inviting manner at that. This is the type of music people who normally don't listen to jazz might find to be surprisingly engaging and compelling I'd imagine. The third type of material present here comes in the shape of the magnum opus 'Tracce Nel Nulla', and almost 26 minutes long behemoth of a song that combines pretty much all the previous aspects, variations and orientations into a massive whole. With a bit of an emphasis on the flowing and more engaging aspects of the chamber jazz landscapes described, and with an additional folk-oriented variety of the same present initially too. A composition that manages to combine the inviting and compelling sides of the band with the challenging and more avant oriented escapades in a rather intriguing manner. There's also a slight deviation in style present on this production in the shape of 'Dopo La Pioggia', and while it does conclude on more of a chamber jazz note the initial part of this composition comes in the shape of a smooth and compelling piano ballad. These opening parts expand the size of the landscapes explored ever so slightly.
Conclusion. Oteme is an unconventional band, no matter from which direction you approach the music explored on this album. While the combination of elements from classical music and jazz isn't all that novel in itself, the manner in which they are combined here do take on a bit more of a novel dimension. If unconventional music exploring challenging and demanding landscapes as well as appealing and compelling territories sounds interesting, and a blend of classical music and jazz with both avant and more broadly appealing sensibilities sounds intriguing, this album will deliver the goods.
Progmessor: February 2023
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