press

“Giovanni Di Domenico play with the poise and logic of a zen master” (Tony Herrington, The Wire)

praise on Family Drug

mhysteria-familydrug-front

 

by GONZOCIRCUS (Guy Peters, in dutch): link
Een nieuwe project met de Brusselse Italiaan/bezig baasje Giovanni Di Domenico, bassist Laurens Smet en drummer Jakob Warmenbol. Voor Di Domenico is het een zoveelste project in een lijst die stilaan intimiderende proporties aanneemt. Op zijn eigen Silent Water-label, maar ook daarnaast, profileert de toetsenist zich steeds nadrukkelijker als een ongrijpbare muzikant. Dat in goed gezelschap van de Brusselse scene of internationale kleppers als Jim O’Rourke, Gonzalo Almeida,Chris Corsano, Nate Wooley of Akira Sakata (‘Iruman’ behoort nog altijd tot onze favoriete impro-cd’s van de laatste jaren). Bij M(h)ysteria gaat hij voluit voor het Hammondorgel, al is dat meteen met een bijsluiter die duidelijk maakt dat dit weinig uitstaans heeft met het werk van, pakweg,Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff of Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes. Het meest excentrieke van Sun Ra, Larry Young of Lonnie Smith kom al iets dichter in de buurt. Smet is dan weer bekend van onder meer Ifa Y Xango en Bambi Pang Pang, terwijl Warmenbol (Nest, Bolhaerd) eindelijk nog eens op een release te horen is. Drie stukken, waarvan twee composities en een vrije improvisatie. In Di Domenico’s ‘Road Rage’ word je meteen bij het nekvel gegrepen door Smets dwingende/slingerende bas, die de volle steun krijgt van Warmenbols gedreven cimbalenwerk. Di Domenico lijkt zich haast onder te dompelen in de magick wereld van John Zorns Moonchild. Een machtig brokje grootstadsjazz die even onderbroken wordt voor wat knorrige interactie. ‘Crumbs War’ is al net zo cool, beland van een hechte, broeierige interactie in een heftig opzwepende dansmuziek (!). Het vrije tussenluik ‘Family Drug’ zoekt het tussen ruimte-exploratie en de krachtige verkenningen van de vroege fusion-bands, maar dan zonder de connotaties die daar doorgaans bij komen kijken. ‘Family Drug’ is niet enkel eerherstel voor het Hammondorgel, maar ook een vet pompende, vrij verkennende en soms verrassend donkere plaat voor wilde nachten.
— — —

by JAZZNYT (Niels Overgard, in danish): link

Hammond, bas og trommer. Så er tankerne kørt i stilling til en bestemt forestilling om hvordan det skal lyde. Den forestilling skydes i sænk af M(H)ysteria, der sender funky grooves og souljazz ud til fordel for syrede stemninger. Trioen M(H)ysteria ledes af italieneren Giovanni Di Domenico, der bor i Belgien. Han har et omfattende CV som pianist og komponist, der bl.a. indbefatter samarbejde med Jim O’Rourke, Arve Henriksen, Akira Sakata og Chris Corsano. Han er sammen med belgierne Laurens Smet på bas og Jakob Warmenbol på trommer.
Musikken er dyster. De beskriver med musikken de mange spændinger der er i dagligdagslivet, med stress og forestillinger om forfærdelige ting der sker omkring os. Trioen har et flydende fremadrettet drive, hvor der aldrig er ro. Åbningsnummeret Road Rage tager os med på en apokalyptisk motorvejstur. Titelnummeret Family Drug sender os ind i en monumentalt lammende overdosis. Den kommer snigende med smerte og afmagt. Family Drug er til lytteren der ikke bange for at få hældt syre i Hammond orgelet. Spændende og uhyggeligt.
— — —
by ‘Salt Peanuts‘ (Bjorn Sandnes, in norwegian): link

Er støy vakkert? Nei! Kan støy være interessant? JA!! Dette kan være en passende innledning på anmeldelsen av det italiensk/belgiske bandet       M(h)ysteria sitt album «Family Drug», som kun inneholder tre spor. Allerede på åpningslåta «Road rage», skjønner man fort at dette ikke kommer til å bli noen vakker opplevelse med peace, love og flotte solnedganger. Et brutalt bassostinat ligger under hardtslående trommespill og vegger av Hammondklanger og analoge synthlyder, der vi dras med på et roadrace av mørk musikalsk energi. Noen minutter ut i låta, glir det hele ut i fullstendig fritt spill der alle musikerne maner fram assosiasjoner til all verdens faenskap. Det lykkes de godt med.

Om det var dystert på åpningslåta, blir det ikke noe særlig lysere på spor 2, tittellåta «Family Drug». Hvis målet er å beskrive stress og gi apokalyptiske assosiasjoner, når de målet med godt monn. På siste sporet, «Crumbs War», starter det hele litt mindre dystert med en ganske groovy beat. Men frykt ikke, vi blir fort dratt inn igjen i bandets mørke og smertefulle musikalske uttrykk.

Alle der ute som har den forestillingen at improvisasjonsmusikk på Hammondorgel skal spilles slik som Jimmy Smith og Joey DeFrancesco har gjort det, har ikke mye å hente på dette albumet. Eller kanskje har de nettopp det – at det finnes andre måter å bruke et klassisk jazzinstrument på som kan få fram kraftfulle følelser. Referansene til salig Keith Emerson i The Nice og Emerson, Lake & Palmer er for denne anmelderen ganske så klare. Emerson var ikke snau på konsertene sine når det gjaldt å støye på orgel både med og uten kortslutning. Han var også den første som begynte å bruke synthesizerne til Robert Moog live.

Dette er mørk, dyster og smertefull improvisasjonsmusikk spilt av svært dyktige musikere. Mange vil kalle dette for støy, og det har de tidvis rett i. Men det er usedvanlig spennende støy som setter i gang mange sterke følelser og bilder i hodet for de som gidder å sette seg ned og høre på det. Men vær forberedt på at du trenger en god pause etter å ha hørt gjennom albumet.

— — —

by Jazz Poisitively (in japanese): link

ローマ出身で、現在はベルギー、ブリュッセル在住のピアニスト、コンポーザー Giovanni Di Domenico のオルガンを核としたグループ“M(H)YSTERIA”としてのデビュー作。

Giovanni Di Domenico は、Jim O’Rouke や坂田明などとも交流があるらしいが、聴くのは今回が初めて。

シャケットの雰囲気などからも、何となく予想はしていたが、ELPなどの Progressive Rock あたりのテイストもある音楽となっている。

フリーっぽい展開もあるのだが、よく聴いていると、打合せも密に、結構つくりこんでいると思える流れもあり、音楽のテイストとしては、ダークで

張りつめた緊張感もあり、時にはノイジーな音も利用するなどの神経を逆なでしてくるようなプレイもあるのだが、スリル感に乏しいと感じるのは、

そんな表面上のラフで自由な形に反し、綿密な計算といったものがちらつくからなのかもしれない。

雑多なものが混じり合う状況は、いままでなかった新しいものを産み出しやすいという意味でも望む状況でもあるのだが、音楽からイメージされる

のは、遠い昔に耳にしたプログレ、この点では、まだ見ぬ新しい世界を切り拓くというよりは、逆に先祖帰りしてしまっているとも受け取れてしまう。

音楽の内容、それを支える技術面でも高いレベルであることは、感じとれるのだが、単純に奏者の感性の質と、そこから産まれる音楽の性格みたい

なものが、現在の自分との相性の悪さを感じてしまう。

ここ4〜5年の Organ シーンの状況を振り返れば、新しい時代を切り拓いていく立ち位置にいるコンテンポラリー系及びそれより先端寄りにいる

方向性を持った Organist の活動状況が極めて鈍く、大きな不満も持っていたこともあり、かすかな期待とともに手を出した本作ではあったのだが、

新しい時代の Jazz Organ を切り拓いていく存在には、どうもなり得ない感性の質、であれば、もっと先端寄りで、メインストリートを行くコンポラ

系のオルガニスト達に何らかのアイデアを与える存在になり得るかといった先進性に富んだ音楽でもなかった。

人材不足の現在の Organ界には、状況こそ違え、あの Organと言えば、黒いものといった固定観念に縛られて、どうにも動きのとれない状況が長く

続いていた前世紀終盤の閉塞感、停滞感が思い出される。今世紀に入り、コンテンポラリー系オルガンの中心となっていたオルガニストの多くが、ピア

ノでの活動にシフトしたかのような動きも目立ち、オルガニストとしての新作リリースも極端に減っているというコンテンポラリー系オルガンシーンの

現状。マイナーな楽器として、同じ鍵盤楽器のピアノよりも低いものとして見られる傾向もあるオルガン、彼らのよりメジャーな楽器での評価を求めて

の動きなのか、あるいはオルガニストとしての可能性に行き詰まった結果なのかは、わからないが、こっちがダメならあっちでといった甘い姿勢からは、

良い結果はイメージできない。

この停滞した悪い流れを断ち切る感性、革命家の出現を期待したいものだ。

—————————————————————————————-

praise on Hard Off

imgres

by ‘Blow Up Magazine’ (Federico Savini, in italian):

Jim O’Rourke alla chitarra, Giovanni Di Domenico al
piano e al Fender Rhodes e Tatsuhisa Yamamoto a batte-
ria ed electronics tornano sul luogo del delitto che nel
2015 battezzò – con un disco omonimo – la ragione so-
ciale dei Delivery Health, oggi a tutti gli effetti una sorta
di trio stabile, visto che spesso si allargano a quartetto
con il grande Akira Sakata e gli ultimi due si frequenta-
no con regolarità da anni (da recuperare i due ottimi al-
bum realizzati con Arve Henriksen dei Supersilent). Qui l’improvvisazione è para-ambientale, parte da auspici
molto flebili per poi crescere poco alla volta, col piani-
smo colto di Di Domenico che dopo aver tratteggiato le
prime movenze di un autentico “organismo sonoro” la-
scia spazio a ghirigori elettrici di O’Rourke mentre Ya-
mamoto lavora di fino sulle risonanze dei piatti. Schema
simile sui due lati, ma il secondo è fatto di una materia
più stridente e severa, col gocciolio del piano che finisce per abbozzare fughe e disegni caracollanti mentre il ruggito noise di chitarra e tastiere prende il sopravvento senza mai perdere la bussola. Sono musicisti sensibilissimi, con una grande intesa: O’Rourke e Yamamoto formano anche i Kafka’s Ibiki insieme ad Eiko Ishibashi, con esiti similari ma un

suono più uniforme, tra i Necks e la drone-music, mentre con Di Domenico ogni evoluzione spiazza le attese di chi ascolta, anche perchè il disco si chiude con un cre- scendo muscolare di tumulti ritmici e digressioni noise tra le più efficaci, epiche e originali ascoltate di recente, fra titanismo novecentesco e memorie ancestrali. Questi sono tra i musicisti migliori in circolazione oggi, per chi non lo sapesse. (8)

—————————————————————————————-

praise on Nov. 16, 2014

ericeira9.jpg

by “Le Son Du Grisli” blog (Luc Bouquet, in french): link

Au Fender Rhodes, Giovanni Di Domenico s’acharne à démembrer la membrane de nos haut-parleurs. Ajoutant du grave au grave, il fait très fort dans l’oscillation assassine. A la guitare, Manuel Mota égrène de laconiques phrasés avant d’exhorter quelque assoiffé ferraillage. A la batterie, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto observe, scrute puis  foudroie peaux et métaux.

A eux trois, ils revendiquent la psyché des seventies (le Miles électrique, Soft Machine,Pink Floyd) et abordent trois montées tentaculaires. Au-delà de la secousse sismique fortement ressentie – et de la fragilité de sa dislocation –, ils œuvrent dans l’attente, questionnent la gravité, accueillent la marge. Bref, vibrent de leur sensibilité brisée.

—————————————————————————————-

praise on A Little Off The Top:

alittleoffthetop

by “Allaboutjazz” (John Sharpe, in english): link

****1/2

Three adept protagonists in the free improv arena assemble in a multinational gathering on A Little Bit Off The Top. Both Italian pianist Giovanni di Domenico and Belgian bassist Peter Jacquemyn are active on the Brussels scene, while American drummer Chris Corsano shares experience with the pianist of hook ups with the likes of guitarist Jim O’Rourke and veteran Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata. The limited edition LP presents a threesome with an egalitarian outlook, manifest in the how the focus doesn’t remain settled on any one participant but shifts restlessly around the group.

The episodic side long “Golondrina” provides a good example of that ethos at work. It begins with tentative clipped piano notes, which bring to mind Cecil Taylor, accompanied by Jacquemyn’s taut pizzicato and Corsano’s clanking drums. Although evoking a conversation at first, the pace gradually picks up. Strings thwack on wood as the bassist’s scratchy physicality predominates. A jazzy sequence follows with Di Domenico’s undulating piano vying with a fast plucked bass counterpoint and tappy pulsing cymbals. A very quiet percussive section awash with indeterminate sounds signposts another dominant trait as the dynamics vary widely both on this and subsequent cuts. The piece ends with Di Domenico again summoning Taylor amid a blizzard of slurred bass notes.

At times they reimagine the piano trio to such an extent that it becomes three companions in consort who just happen to play their respective instruments. Corsano gives the impression that he is always on the search for unconventional textures. In “Tiburòn” Di Domenico matches the drummer’s initial thicket of small gestures by delving under the bonnet for a mixture of xylophone cadences and quivering metallic scrapes, recalling the work of Agusti Fernandez.

“Slick Back” starts as if the whole construction consists only of foundations with dark piano rumblings and bowed bass underpinnings. A pealing tremolo signals a swerve in which the pianist, prone to occasional lyrical fragments, suggests distant shades of Leonard Bernstein’s “America.” Like the rest of this intriguing set such transitions require close listening.

—————————————————————————————-

by the “New York City Jazz Record (Ken Waxman, in english): link

Drummer Chris Corsano converted to free music after witnessing performances by Cecil Taylor and William Parker and brings the same animation and restraint to these discs as he has used with Evan Parker, Paul Flaherty and Akira Sakata. Without compromising his style, he’s crafty enough to forge a different strategy for each CD.

Italian pianist Giovanni di Domenico is a player to whom Corsano can easily relate. Like a fundamentalist preacher’s sermons, his playing makes no space for hesitation or fragility. Nearly every note on A Little Off The Top is splashed out with a power-lifter’s determination, textures clashing together like Mahjong tiles and glissandi hammered into ferocious blurs. His playing isn’t without humor though. On the extended “Golondrina” hints of boogie-woogie and balladic pacing sneak in, then vanish, like insect chirps before a storm. Belgian bassist Peter Jacquemyn is no musical milksop either. Adept at col legno and other extended string techniques, his speed-of-light string slashes, bumps and shakes often join inner-piano-string plucks to create pulsating rhythmic drones. Faced with bulky tone-propelling from his partners, Corsano takes the

opposite approach. His response is to sweep and pat corrosive accents from his knit, working these gestures into a constantly flowing course of downplayed but swinging pressure points. The paramount instance of this is “Tibutòn”. With Corsano breaking up the time alongside Jacquemyn’s rich viola-de-gamba-like tone, di Domenico jabs staccato sounds into the continuum like flies landing on, but not sticking to, flypaper.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘lesondugrisli‘ blog, Guillaume Belhomme (in french): link

C’est à domicile que le pianiste Giovanni Di Domenico a enregistré ce trio avec Peter Jacquemyn (contrebassiste entendu notamment auprès de Fred Van Hove, Kris Wandersou Lê Quan Ninh) et Chris Corsano. Une façon comme une autre de faire état de sa pratique instrumentale autrement qu’en accompagnateur, par exemple, d’Akira Sakata(Iruman, récemment).

La prise de son le met d’ailleurs en valeur – en première face, il faut même tendre l’oreille pour approcher un peu contrebasse et batterie, d’autant que la progression taylorienne du piano laisse assez peu d’espace à l’une et à l’autre. Mais l’impressionnant duo Jacquemyn/ Corsano qui ouvre Tiburòn offre une double possibilité : aux deux musiciens de se faire entendre et au trio d’engager un autre genre d’improvisation. C’est alors une pluie d’aigus qu’essuient contrebasse et batterie quand le pianiste négocie à la dernière seconde tous les reliefs nés des frictions. Alors le trio en impose.

 ————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on Denki Udon:

artworkFinal

by “Dusted Magazine” (Bill Meyer, in english): link

What’s the difference between jamming and improvising? For this multinational trio, the answer is probably, “Not much.” The name Denki Udon, which translates from Japanese as “electrical udon,” may even be a droll commentary on the topic. Udon = noodle, geddit? At any rate, if they’re noodling, they give the practice a good name, because you don’t need to have your membership in the free improv appreciation society paid up to appreciate the way their occasionally tangential but always connected forays pay off on In ZdB.

Two thirds of Denki Udon share an association going back some years with Jim O’Rourke.  Tatsuhisa Yamamoto is O’Rourke’s preferred drummer for his own projects in recent years, and Fender Rhodes pianist Giovanni Di Domenico has released several records with O’Rourke on the Silent Water and Die Schachtel labels. Guitar and bass player Norberto Lobo hasn’t played with O’Rourke, but he did make a pretty marvelous, mostly acoustic solo record called Fornalha that Three:Four put out last year.

However, anyone going straight from Fornalha to In ZdB (short for Galeria Zé dos Bois, the Lisbon venue where this record was recorded) might not make the connection between the two records, since Lobo is totally plugged in on this one and plays more bass than guitar. The main connections are his penchant for bowing whichever guitar he plays, and his interest in making music that flows across the full length of both sides of an LP. It arises from Yamamoto’s rustling percussion and Di Domenico’s halo-ringed notes to a patient groove that post-Damo Can might have felt comfortable claiming, then wanders through a variety of moods, building slowly up to a frenetic freak-out that sounds like the Agharta band might if it has forgone the funk to be anchored by a Godzilla-stomping fuzz bass. This isn’t music made to propose some grand statement, or to change anyone’s life; rather, it’s music very mindful of its origins, but not beholden to them, enacted by musicians with a palpable rapport and great taste in tones.

—————————————————————————————-

by Textura (in english): link

A leader-less trio with a jones for live improvisation, Denki Udon consists of Norberto Lobo (electric guitar, electric bass), Giovanni Di Domenico (Fender rhodes), and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto (drums). Their appetite for live playing is well-accounted for on In ZdB, which documents a set the trio played on November 21st, 2014 at the Galeria Zé dos Bois in Lisbon. Each of the three brings background in experimental jazz and free improv to their shared endeavour, with figures such as Arve Henriksen, Jim O’Rourke, Fred Lomberg-Holm, Otomo Yoshihide, and Keiji Haino among those with whom they’ve played.

Being wholly improvised, it’s natural that a certain degree of looseness attends the material, and par for the course, explorative episodes stretch out as the participants feel their way along from moment to moment. Yet there is coherence also, so much so that one guesses some small amount of pre-planning or discussion had to have preceded the performance. Lasting thirty-six minutes, the set lends itself perfectly to a vinyl presentation, with two conjoined tracks presented on each side.

“Saike Zoku” opens with Yamamoto saturating the space with colourful percussive flourishes and Lobo and Di Domenico adding painterly textures of their own. As one would expect, that relatively subdued beginning gradually builds into a considerably more animated and aggressive attack, each player feeding off of the energy and ideas of the others. Side A closes with the three digging into a lumbering, blues-based monstrosity titled “Music For Wet Dreams” before inaugurating the flip with the molten free-form thunder of “Needle Dropping.” If there’s a secret weapon here, it’s Yamamoto, who stokes continual fire throughout the recording; rarely pausing for breath, the Yamaguchi-born drummer whips up cross-currents of cymbal patterns and percussive detail whilst also laying out a stable yet ever-mutating foundation for his partners to play against (see “The Final Static” as an especially good example).

As the recording advances, an interesting concept comes into focus, with Lobo and Di Domenico eschewing conventional soloing for more group-focused interplay. Stated otherwise, the three treat Denki Udon as a singular, multi-limbed entity as opposed to an outfit featuring three individual players—or at least that’s the impression encouraged by the recording. In that regard, it wouldn’t be too great a stretch to draw a parallel between In ZdB and Live-Evil as far the group concept is concerned, and Denki Udon’s playing even sometimes calls to mind the live improvs of King Crimson during its Starless and Bible Black period.

—————————————————————————————-

by Skug (by Holger Adam, in german): link

Hinter dem Namen Denki Udon verbergen sich Norberto Lobo, Giovanni Di Domenico and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Ein Portugiese, ein in Belgien lebender Italiener und ein Japaner. Gitarre und Bass, Fender Rhodes und Drums. Früher, sagen wir so um 1995 herum, hätte das Etikett »Post-Rock« hingereicht, um die musikalischen Verhältnisse auf dieser Live-LP zu beschreiben. Allerdings ist die Genre-Bezeichnung über die Jahrzehnte hinweg nicht besonders gut gealtert und wird heute mithin als Synonym für »Kassengift« oder »Verschnarchtheit« verstanden. Zeitgenössische Verstiegenheit geriert sich »experimentell« – aber auch diese Chiffre hat sich in den letzten Jahren arg verbraucht und hin und wieder mag das Adjektiv nicht mehr als ein Euphemismus für »nicht wissen wohin und warum« sein. Das trifft aber im Falle von Denki Udon nicht zu. Ebenso wie Alben von Gastr Del Sol auch heute noch aus der verschlafenen Post-Rock-Nachbarschaft meilenweit heraus ragen, so können auch Denki Udon mit »In ZdB« den möglicherweise naheliegenden Eindruck schlaffen Gedudels sofort vom Tisch wischen. Inspiriert und konzentriert absolviert das Trio die nicht ganz 40 Minuten der vorliegenden Aufnahme, die in ihren schönsten Momenten gar an The Necks, das australische Trio, dessen durchweg improvisierte Alben seit Jahren nicht langweilen, erinnern. Und das soll was heißen.


by Vital Weekly (Frand De Waard, in english): link

ZDB, as mentioned in the title, is a concert space in Lisbon and its acronym
stands for Zé Dos Bois. While I had not heard of Denki Udon before, the trio
consists of Norberto Lobo, of whom in Vital Weekly 981, I reviewed a CD that
he did with João Lobo and a bunch of other people. Jazz was something that
didn’t seem to be far away for that release, but it was also a bit too decent
for my taste. Lobo plays guitar and bass on this recording from Denki Udon,
while Giovanni Di Domenico plays Fender Rhodes (he was also present on the Lobo
brothers CD) and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto plays the drums. All three players have
their roots in the world of improvised music, free jazz and modern classical
music. That is something that they also play on this record, and in concert
in ZDB in 2014: music that is partly free, mostly jazzy and also a bit careful.
Everybody has their role in this music, everybody contributes to the bigger
picture of a piece and they play with much ear for detail. Lobo sometimes plays
more rock like gestures on his guitar, and there are a fair bit of effects on
the Fender Rhodes; ‘Needle Dropping’ is in that respect their most aggressive
piece: three minutes of free noise rock. It’s all highly enjoyable music here,
but perhaps also no harm or danger around here. I can imagine this going down
well by those love their Sunday glass of wine and fine bit free jazz in a
highly respectable jazz environment.

————————-

————————-

praise on Delivery Health

IGUANA_AJD

by ‘freejazzblog‘ (Joe Higham, in english) ****  link

If there’s two musicians that surely complement each other its possibly Jim O’Rourke and Giovanni Di Domenico, both are prolific artists, producing a stream of superb albums in the past few years, and both seem to sidestep current fashions, yet stay musically listenable. So this year starts (or was it last year finished) with Giovanni Di Domenico, Jim O’Rourke and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto’s “Delivery Health”, part of a couple of records that O’Rourke and Di Domenico have collaborated on recently. The group dishes up an excellent slice of improvised music that includes jazz, rock and noise. For those new to these musicians Giovanni Di Domenico plays piano and keyboard, Jim O’Rourke a guitarist (among other things) and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto plays drums. Di Domenico and Jim O’Rourke manipulate (at times) their specific instruments, using electronics or other devices to change their sound. On the other hand Yamamoto stays more (or less) with the acoustic set-up of his drums, which in my opinion helps give the music a truly three dimensional aspect.

The record consists of three pieces, “Transgression is Only Fleeting”, “Passe Muraille” and “Superfield”. They are placed (although maybe not recorded) in such a way that the record develops sonically from a very calm atmosphere to intense noise and feedback before coming back together with a sort of melodic finale. Giovanni Di Domenico and Jim O’Rourke look after the harmonic areas in a very skilled and sparing fashion. Never is there a moment when you feel they’ve over-played or just plain ‘gone on too long’. As with several of Giovanni’s other recordings (such as GOING), the music often has a minimalist direction. This enables the musicians to easily develop subtle ideas both melodically and/or rhythmically, whilst giving plenty space to experiment with their sound. In this case its interesting to hear how much of the development comes from Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and his intelligent use of the drums. Yamamoto, whose playing sits somewhere between the styles of Paul Motian and Edward Vesala, opens up the music like a breath of fresh air. His subtle playing carries you along, integrating the electronic sounds into his rhythms to make subtle and flowing music.

As for finding some comparison or ‘handle’ which gives an idea of the groups sound one only needs to refer to their press release. The group, or record company, gives a nod towards the 70s ECM jazz rock period, presenting the record as a “[…] blend of early 70’s ECM drum sound, [mixed with] long unfolding travelogues […]”, and indeed the group’s sound has elements of that crossover feel which was prevalent in the 70s period, when jazz and rock were closely linked. Its a period that was very productive musically and sonically, music from that period seemed to be less about virtuosity and more about musical values such as improvisation, experimentation, sounds and music. To hear those areas being re-examined is, I would suggest, good news for all.

For all those interested don’t hesitate to head over to Silent Water Records to snap up a copy of this limited edition LP. I’m not sure if there’s digital copies available, but I’m sure any questions will be happily answered by the record company.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘percorsi musicali’ (Ettore Garzia, in italian): link

Delivery Health (un trio con O’Rourke e Tatsuhisa Yamamoto) potrebbe insinuare una possibile evoluzione di Clinamen o Distare sonanti: brani come Transgression is only fleeting fanno venire alla memoria i pianisti obbliqui dell’Ecm (specie quelli nordici) e la percussività a ricamo di Motian, mentre pezzi come Superfield entrano nella dimensione sonora elettroacustica che è parte del bagaglio di Di Domenico; c’è molto del drone della Radigue, con totale privazione dell’intento religioso e la sostituzione di esso con quello della sovraesposizione, raggiunto attraverso subdole dosi di noise (anche strumentale) ben architettate.

—————————————————————————————-

by Leanardo Di Maio, “Onda Rock” (in italian): link

Di Giovanni Di Domenico avevamo brevemente accennato, in calce alla recensione del bel disco di Fabrizio Casti in coppia con Elio Martusciello, “Chamber Rites” (Die Schachtel, 2015), tracciando a grandi linee la musica del suo bel 12″ realizzato in coppia con Jim O’Rourke, “Arco”, uscito un paio di mesi fa, sempre per la label di Bruno Stucchi e Fabio Carboni. Di Domenico, ormai quasi quarantenne, è un pianista romano di estrazione avantgarde, che esula da ogni tipo di classificazione di generi e di stili, rifulgendo in un vivo solismo creativo.

Partito inizialmente da influenze jazz canterburiane (si pensi ai Soft Machine) e dalla “fourth world music” di Jon Hassell (grazie alla tromba trattata elettronicamente di Arve Henriksen) con i suoi primi due dischi “Clinamen” e “Distare Stonanti” (gli unici pubblicati in cd da due etichette internazionali, la belga Off & Rat e l’americana Either/OAR, rispettivamente nel 2010 e nel 2012), Di Domenico si è progressivamente spostato verso l’impovvisazione pura. Ma con una particolare attenzione alla materia sonora (nel senso che non si è mai trattato di improvvisazione aleatoria fine a se stessa, ma con un buon grado di comunicabilità e sempre intrigante), producendo nel frattempo un misterioso album di “space jazz” senza titolo in trio con il chitarrista portoghese Manuel Mota e il batterista giapponese Tatsushisa Yamamoto (la foderina interna riporta solo la data di regsitrazione, “November 16, 2014”) e pubblicato all’inizio del 2015 dalla fantomatica SoundShots (probabilmente si tratta di un’autoproduzione dello stesso Di Domenico), contenente un unico e ipnotico lungo brano di trentanove minuti.

Altra sua bizzarria è appunto il 12″ composto a quattro mani con Jim O’Rourke, “Arco”, contenente delle improvvisazioni minimaliste da forte sapore trascendentale. Tra le ultime pubblicazioni della Silent Water, va segnalato anche questo mini-Lp “Delivery Health”, contenente solo tre eccellenti brani (registrati in diretta, senza “overdubs”, in uno studio di Tokyo alla fine del 2013), anche questi realizzati con il suo amico O’Rourke insieme al fido batterista Yamamoto, che lo affianca ormai da cinque anni. In questa ennesima prova, il talentuoso pianista/tastierista romano cambia nuovamente rotta e si tuffa a capofitto nella musica creativa degli anni Settanta.

Un disco del genere sarebbe stato perfetto per un’etichetta come la Piano Records di David Cunningham, o per la Ogun, oppure per l’italiana Ictus. In questi tre brani si condensano infatti, con molto gusto e senso della misura, musica concreta, pianismifree, scordature metalliche, percussioni sparse, modulazioni sonore, cinguettii di uccelli, exotica e mille altre bizzarrie strumentali. Particolarmente riuscite, in tal senso, sono “Passe Muraille” e la straniante “Superfield”, che occupa tutto il secondo lato del disco.
Steve Beresford e David Toop sarebbero andati fieri di aver potuto incidere un tale disco nel 1977 o giù di lì. Da menzionare poi la bella e poriginale copertina, realizzata dall’artista grafico Antonio Julio Duarte (quell’enorme iguana su uno sfondo rosso…).

Altre recentissime uscite di rilievo della Silent Water sono il doppio “Duos With Guitars” (inciso solo su tre facciate), che si riallaccia ai duetti creativi di Eugene Chadbourne dei tempi d’oro e il triplo 10″ della pianista (ma molto “sui generis”, dato che pare che suoni di tutto, tranne il piano) Pak Yan Lau, “Books”, recentemente magnificato sulle colonne della prestigiosa rivista “The Wire”.

Giovanni Di Domenico è un nome da tenere d’occhio, assai sottovalutato nella sua madrepatria e molto più apprezzato e stimato all’estero (e i motivi sono facilmente immaginabili). Merita invece molta, ma molta più attenzione, sia da parte del pubblico degli ascoltatori più attenti che della critica specializzata, specialmente italiana. Promosso a pieni voti.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘lesondugrisli‘ blog, Guillaume Belhomme (in french): link

L’intention avec laquelle Giovanni Di Domenico fait tourner un motif pourrait rappeler certaines pièces de Morton Feldman : mais les premières secondes de Delivery Health, que le pianiste a enregistré en 2013 avec Jim O’Rourke et Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, sont trompeuses.

Car voici bientôt décalé le motif en question sous l’effet des cordes électriques : O’Rourkefait bien de choisir d’opposer aux aigus du piano des graves capables de polir leur brillance. Plus loin ce sont des merles sur un piano clair et puis, plus intéressant, en seconde face, de longues notes de guitare qui quadrillent l’espace ( ce Superfield annoncé).

Le trio y progresse comme sur un fil – des créatures l’environnent, qui chantent – et finit par aboutir : à ce morceau d’atmosphère qui rappelle de vieilles rengaines krautrock au détour desquelles il ne serait pas surprenant de croiser un Merzbow perdu. L’exercice est donc dense, et cet art de faire de la musique au gré de ses (diverses) envies, au final, plutôt louable.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Arco‘ by Giovanni Di Domenico & Jim O’Rourke

DSZC16-ARCO-cover-LP

by “Touching Extremes” (Massimo Ricci, in english): link

Saturday night’s alright for overtones.

This relatively short work comes on vinyl but, as always in these cases, one hopes for a CD version – better sooner than later – to keep spinning ad infinitum. That’s right, you understood correctly: Arco is best savored in a cyclical mode, for it drones as gorgeously as a mantra from heaven. Taking shape from an unblended phrase progressively dilating its duration, the composition benefits from its geometrical clarity first and foremost. The strings intertwine without frictions, gradually spiced by O’Rourke slightly irregular electronics; they form a sort of random canon, keeping the tonality fairly anchored until a bass note emerges – typically breathtakingly – to shift the whole into another dimension. The electronic treatment provides a layer of doubtfulness in regard to the perception of certain flanging timbres which seem to elicit Tuvan ghosts; I’m almost sure that the ears are betraying me, the globality of the upper partials is indeed responsible for those imaginary singers (…is it?). The finale introduces a further element of “enhanced uncertainty”, all tones oscillating in a definitive affirmation of harmonic suspension. It’s all extremely human-sounding, never overwhelming, spiritually enriching beyond any string of ridiculously “cosmic” explanations.

The hype accompanying the release is somehow justified, but should someone have noticed the names thrown around the web for comparison, well – they are quite wrong in relation to what’s heard over here. Forced to play that kind of game with a gun pointed at our head, we would consider quoting the very O’Rourke (Happy Days or even I’m Happy And I’m Singing And A 1,2,3,4), or perhaps Duane Pitre, or – get this – Pachelbel’s Canon stretched by Eno in Discreet Music. Tony Conrad after a chamomile tea, anyone? Moreover, a couple of sections also evoke Reichian flavors circa “Violin Phase” and “Octet”, if you ask me. However, don’t let yourselves be detoured by futile juxtapositions and ignorant digressions. This album’s functional incidence is directly proportional to its own numerous merits.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘percorsi musicali’ (Ettore Garzia): link

L’ascesa del musicista belga Giovanni Di Domenico è una circostanza che mi rende enormemente felice, in quanto posso dire di averla favorita anch’io, con le mie convinzioni e i miei scritti su di lui. Come scritto in un precedente articolo, in Di Domenico la poliedricità del mezzo espressivo fornisce il carattere distintivo della sua musica ed in tal senso è un musicista perfetto per Percorsi Musicali, che condivide la stessa variabilità stilistica. Il grado di contentezza aumenta quando penso che il suo nome è arrivato come un treno sulle pagine di The Wire e che l’attività concertistica si è rapidamente espansa in tutto il mondo; last but not least, l’ulteriore e saettante notizia che si rinviene dalla pubblicazione di un LP registrato nella serie Zeit Composers tenuta dalla Die Schachtel, intitolato “Arco“, in cui prende di petto l’attività compositiva, avvalendosi della collaborazione di archi e dell’elettronica di Jim O’Rourke, che negli ultimi tempi è molto vicino a Di Domenico. Prendendo spunto ispirativo dal quel costruttivismo sonoro che sta imperversando in molte parti del mondo e che consiste in droni orchestrali minimali ma carichi di sfumature, “Arco” si appoggia sulla controversa sensazione di benessere di qualcosa che a monte fu teoricamente preparata per giungere invece all’alienazione. Una delle qualità di Di Domenico è quella di incidere sulla forma espressiva, che tende a catturare gli stadi d’attesa dandogli un contenuto sonoro ed Arco riesce alla perfezione in questo tentativo, che può degnamente coronare la sua attuale attività compositiva, che ha un gancio fortissimo rivolto all’asse minimalista della musica, anche di natura elettroacustica (Riley, Radigue, Christer Hennix).

—————————————————————————————-

by “Sentire Ascoltare” (Stefano Pifferi, in italian): link

La struttura compositiva è molto semplice: l’uso di una cellula (il DNA del brano) di quattro note ripetute che vanno a formare il tessuto melodico/armonico che piano piano si fossilizza (ghiaccia?) in accordi sospesi, levitanti, in cui il tempo che passa diventa estensione armonica stessa, e in cui le corde degli archi e la splendida (ricchissima) paletta sonora dell’elettronica si fondono sino all’essenza stessa della Forma”.

Le parole affidate alle liner notes del disco da Di Domenico dicono già tutto dell’imprinting con cui il compositore italiano ha affrontato la materia al fine di creare “uno spazio sonoro dove l’attesa (la pazienza?) diventi forma stessa”. E dicono molto anche della scelta di affrontare questa creazione con l’ausilio di Jim O’Rourke, “musicista che ha nella forma e nel suo uso la sua vera grandezza”, amante strenuo di certo minimalismo e impegnato in questa sede a contrappuntare, dilatare, deviare i suoni che i violini di Ananta Roosens e Benoit Leseure, la viola di Nicole Miller e Jean-François Durdu e il violoncello di Marine Horbaczweski e Jean-Philippe Feiss, diretti dallo stesso Di Domenico, hanno registrato in quel di Bruxelles.

Cosa aggiungere a siffatta descrizione e definizione se non che, nella mezzora in cui Arco è spalmato tra i due lati di un vinile dalla veste grafica al solito eccellente quando si parla di Die Schachtel, si assiste inebetiti ad un flusso sonoro avvolgente e magmatico, ipnotico e fluviale, incredibilmente vario nella sua elaborazione di (apparentemente) pochi input sonori? Dischi del genere andrebbero veramente fatti ascoltare nelle scuole, ma anche nei non-luoghi della modernità, nei circuiti accademici, nelle redazioni dei soloni che discutono sul valore della musica pensando al pop o all’indie da classifica. Purtroppo, o per fortuna, it depends…, la fruizione di questo piccolo capolavoro del minimalismo elettro&acustico verrà relegata all’ascolto personale, casalingo e notturno, donando a chi vi si avventurerà infinito piacere e fantastiche visioni.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘II (Machinery)‘ by Going

P1050209

by “Freejazzblog” (Joe Higham, in english): link

****1/2

This is one of those very special records, although this may be a 4.5 star review, there’s no doubt it’s a five star listen. This is a record that crosses many boundaries and certainly guaranteed to make you not only sit up and listen but also rock around the room (if played loud enough). GOING a Belgian based group, has a skeletal line up which packs a big punch, 2 drummers,Joao Lobo and Mathieu Calleja, and 2 keyboards/synths/objects (and plenty of effects) areGiovanni Di Domenico and Pak Yan Lau. The sound that they come up with could be loosely post-rock, but also closely allied to improvised music (sound wise). To top that off they have a description on their website describing themselves as a “[..] psychedelic groove band”.

The album consists of two beautifully organised pieces. The first side/track “Red Machinery” develops slowly from sparse drums and keyboard sounds into repetitive figures and a complex interlocking groove. The combinations of rhythmic patterns are at the heart of this composition, the melodic seed is simple but varies slightly to blend into (and with) the various patterns. You could ‘think’ of Chicago group ‘Tortoise’ for a reference, GOING tap into the same area, overlapping rhythms and rock beats, mixing some great experimental sounds and repetitive riffs, its a delightful combination and very addictive!

The second piece Blue Machinery, has a slightly harder edge. Its brooding atmosphere and constant recurring single note pattern give this a urgent edgy quality. One feels the piece may brake, at any moment, into a up-tempo groove, but the group hold the music back in a way to produce tension. Minimal solo lines give the track just the right balance between a groove and melody, allowing the music to evolve naturally.

The clever combination of two keyboards/effects and two drummers really gives the music plenty of space, and the lack of a bass to drive the group is actually what gives it the group its pure sound. There are plenty of details to hear within the recording due to this combination and the different paths taken by each instrumentalist. There are no real soloists, just co-operative group made music.

This is a vinyl release, with one track per side, although it’s possible to buy a digital version. I received the music on sound-files and I have to say that it seemed (in my humble opinion) a great medium to host this excellent music, as I found myself listening to the two tracks as one long evolving piece.

This is certainly a highly recommended release, and easily accessible to many people interested in either jazz, rock, electronica and the minimalism of post Steve Reich’s world. Anyone interested should quickly head over to their website as this is a limited edition of 300 odd copies.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘lesondugrisli‘ blog, Guillaume Belhomme (in french): link

Difficilement déchiffrable, la pochette du second disque de Going signifie peut-être II dans le langage de celui qui emmène le projet, Giovanni Di Domenico (ici au Fender Rhodes). Avec lui, une jeune femme aux claviers (Pak Yan Lau) et puis deux batteurs (João Lobo etMathieu Calleja).

D’allure plutôt lente, l’improvisation joue de simples répétitions puis de séquences qui se fondent lorsqu’arrive le moment d’une diversion instrumentale (ici une fioriture à l’orgue, là une accélération d’une des batteries…). Un new age à la Tangerine Dream – sur le premier disque de Going, l’influence du krautrock était plus marquée – que vient chahuter l’écho du premier post-rock : c’est en somme la première face du disque.

Sur la seconde, plus enlevée, le groupe se fait plus bavard, tourne un temps en rond sur un prétexte modal, puis lâche un peu de lest pour revenir à un minimalisme répétitif plus convaincant : à force de nouvelles répétitions, Going perce la matière et s’y engouffre : c’est alors là qu’il faut l’entendre.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali blog (italian): link

Un rinnovato e adeguato interesse lo suscita anche un nostro bravissimo pianista romano operante in Belgio e di cui su queste pagine ho avuto modo di parlare e di incensare in passato. Lo scorso anno Giovanni Di Domenico è stato subito ospite dell’Umbria Jazz per un concerto che mi porta ancora rammarico il fatto di non aver potuto assistere alla sua esibizione e il lavoro con Akira Sakata è arrivato sulle pagine di The Wire. Tra i tanti progetti, quelli corroborati negli ultimi mesi sono stati il produttivo duo già citato con Sakata, nonché quello con la jazzista francese Alexandra Grimal (il loro ultimo lavoro per Ayler intitolato Chergui è un’altra perla discografica che va assolutamente scoperta ed assimilata). Ora Di Domenico pubblica in edizione vinilica per la sua label il secondo episodio dei Going, un quartetto formato da lui e Pak Yan Lau alle tastiere e i due percussionisti Calleja e Lobo.
Going II (Machinery)” si snoda in due lunghe suites memori della lunghezza di un disco di progressive rock, ma è un progressive del tutto incubato nelle prospettive stilistiche di Di Domenico e colleghi. La “side A” coglie di striscio essenze diverse: una tastiera che intercetta Third dei Soft Machine ma che si comporta come un macchina minimalista, con ritmica incrociata in continuo controtempo e appropriati effetti di elettronica in odore berlinese. La “side B” invece vi proietta nella parte propedeutica del Davis elettrico con uso di campionamenti che tagliano labilmente i confini dell’ambient music.
Il progetto Going procrastina la versatilità del pianista, che con molta parsimonia ed attenzione sceglie di spingere su progettualità che siano in grado comunque di delineare il proprio pensiero musicale e la lezione diGoing II va inquadrata in quella capsula sonora emotiva percepita a fasi in cui Giovanni illustra un mondo sottinteso, una descrizione del “grande viaggio urbano” che quotidianamente percorriamo nella nostra esistenza.

————————-

————————-

————————-

Praise on ‘Chlopingle

Chlopingle_cd

by “Freejazzblog” (in english) ****  link

Not exactly prolific this band: their first album “And The Missing R” dates from 2008 already, and now, seven years later we get their sophomore album, and that is many years too late, but their music is great. The band still consists of Belgian-Italian Daniele Martini on tenor sax, Belgian-Italian pianist Giovanni di Domenico, Portuguese bassist Gonçalo Almeida who resides in Rotterdam, and Portuguese drummer João Lobo.

The first track, “Non Negative Python“, is a slow intimate and intense piece, that starts with a minimalst piano intro with sparse notes and without clear rhythm, bass and drums limiting themselves to add accents and color, creating an eery yet gentle atmosphere. Then after some eight minutes, the tenor joins for slow wailing sounds, with sustained notes, increasing the tension even more, encouraging drums and bass to become adventurous and investigative, and the piano’s repetitive percussive almost one-chord hammering changes the context again, forcing the sax to become repetitive too, and the whole piece turns again heads to tail, with the eery yet gentle piano intro ending the long piece.

Eprobly Fowler” starts with completely suppressed sounds, like they’re trying to escape from somewhere, but are prevented from doing so, giving a kind of suffocating feeling to the listener, yet gradually bass and drums emerge from the background, offering some sounds, and then the piano takes over halfway, for solo, then joined by the rest of the band, with a strong rhythmic pulse that suddenly releases the energy that was waiting to erupt.

The album ends with “Monogamy Frightful”, again a very intense and fierce workout, that lasts ‘only’ six minutes, yet the band goes at it with full energy and power.

Again, one wonders why it takes so long for a band this good to publish new albums. They don’t lack the creativity or the energy or inspiration to do so. True, the musicians have each individually been quite prolific lately as leaders or as members of various bands, so then can be forgiven, as long as they don’t forget that Tetterapadequ also exists!

—————————————————————————————-

by “Enola” (Guy Peters, in dutch): link

We hebben altijd de mond vol van Clean Feed als het gaat om Portugese jazz, maar het door violist Ernesto Rodrigues opgerichte label Creative Sources is intussen ook al vijftien jaar actief én bracht op die tijd ook meer dan 300 albums uit, die doorgaans iets nauwer aansluiten bij de tradities van kamermuziek, elektro-akoestische muziek en avant-garde, dan het iets meer jazzgerichte Clean Feed. Het is ook hier dat het kwartet Tetterapadequ zijn tweede album uitbrengt, zeven jaar na het debuut And The Missing ‘R’. De band wordt op Discogs omschreven als “the first (and only) freejazz boyband”, maar dat mag natuurlijk met een paar korrels zout genomen worden (tenzij het enkel over looks gaat), want Tetterapadequ beweegt zich een eind verder weg van de traditie dan het trio hierboven. Dat viel natuurlijk ook te verwachten door die combinatie met Giovanni Di Domenico (piano), Daniele Martini (saxen) en João Lobo (drums), allemaal bekenden in de Brusselse improscene. En allemaal doken ze vorig jaar nog op in het tienkoppige Dream & Drone Orchestra, dat een album uitbracht bij Silent Water.

Dat drone-element keert ook hier terug, want de drie stukken voelen op hun manier allemaal aan als onverstoorbare wandelingen door onherbergzame oorden, soms met een onheilspellende en donkere teneur, maar regelmatig ook wringend en kletterend met plots vrijgekomen energie en wild om zich heen slingerende instincten. De twintig minuten van “Non Negative Python” gaan traag schuifelend van start, met luchtverplaatsing, lome basaccenten, minimaal getik. Meditatieve monotonie waarin dan plots een piano opduikt. Sober, met vooral aandacht voor de ruimte tussen de verloren noten. Het is de wereld van het geduld, waarin tijd gerekt wordt zoals dat gebeurt bij The Necks. Na een minuut of acht maakt de sax een open intrede, één en al huilende weemoed, en is de band vertrokken voor een rite die herinnert aan de intensiteit die Lotte Anker ooit liet horen met Craig Taborn en Gerald Cleaver, ook al wordt de samenhang hier deels ontmanteld, krijgt de grilligheid het voor het zeggen, lijkt het even alsof je in een timmeratelier belandt. En toch afronden met, opnieuw, dat ingetogen minimalisme.

Een vergelijkbare, maar nog stillere start bij “Eprobly Fowler”: de ruis van een sax als de wind door een tochtgat. Gedempte, echoënde aanslagen van de piano, zeurend geschraap over de bassnaren. Geritsel en gefriemel, een wereld van textuurverschuivingen. Met halverwege een wending die de luisteraar naar een uitbundige freejazzzone met een krachtig slot voert. Afsluiter “Monogamy Frightful” is directer, met denderende piano-aanslagen en een minimalistische eerste helft die na een paar minuten word ingeruild voor expressieve, krachtig stuiterende tweede vol gierend gejammer, trinkeltinkels en stuwende ritmes. Het maakt van Chlopingle een plaat die even instinctief en als ritualistisch klinkt. Met jazz heeft het nog maar weinig te maken, met het stimuleren van de verbeelding des te meer.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Freeform, Freejazz” (Fabricio Vieira, in portuguese): link ****

O quarteto Tetterapadequ apresenta, após um razoável hiato, seu segundo álbum. Registrado em julho do ano passado em Bruxelas, Chlopingle oferece três novos temas do interessantíssimo grupo que traz dois portugueses – Gonçalo Almeida (baixo) e João Lobo (bateria) – e dois italianos – Giovanni di Domenico (piano) e Daniele Martini (saxes). Partindo de uma formação clássica do jazz, o grupo explora elementos vários do gênero, mergulhando em densos improvisos e na liberdade contemporânea. “Non Negative Python”, que abre o disco, exibe bem as linhas investigadas pelo quarteto, com seu soturno e lento desenvolvimento, em que picos de tensão e relaxamento se alternam na construção do discurso. Na outra ponta, está “Monogamy Frightful”, a mais breve do conjunto, com seus cerca de oito minutos de energia mais concentrada. Um rico exemplar da música inventiva contemporânea.

————————-

————————-

————————-

Praise on ‘Live At Cafe Oto

image

by “Allaboutjazz” (John Eyles, in English): link ****1/2

Recorded in concert at London’s Cafe Oto in January 2014, this album features the kind of cosmopolitan ensemble in which the venue specialises. It brings together veteran Japanese reedsman Akira Sataka and Spanish pianist Giovanni Di Domenico with London’s own John Edwards and Steve Noble. The latter pair have virtually become the house bassist and drummer at Cafe Oto, appearing with many visiting musicians, some of whom play at the venue for that very reason. It is no exaggeration to say that the twosome deserves the often-heard description of them, “the Sly and Robbie of Improv.” As well as their permanent places in trios with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson, with Alex Ward on guitar in NEW, and with Alexander Hawkins on Hammond organ in Decoy, they have also played at Oto with notables including Peter Brötzmann and Joe McPhee. Their presence in a group of any size is practically a guarantee that the resulting music will be rhythmic, energy-charged and exciting.And this album is the latest evidence in support of that statement; across its forty minutes, it crackles and fizzes with energy so that there is never a flat spot or dull moment to be heard. That is not solely down to the bassist and drummer but also to Sataka and Di Domenico too, who both proved themselves equal to their bandmates. Sataka himself belied his age, giving a bravura performance in which he pulled out all the stops, augmenting his rapid-fire saxophone and clarinet playing with interludes of percussion and some demonic vocalising. For his part, the pianist was equally energised, underpinning proceedings with a constant accompaniment of fractured chords that—as with Edwards and Noble—were a perfect complement to Sataka without stealing his thunder. The end result was a quartet in which the component parts were in balance and fitted each other just right, so they sounded as if they have been together for years. Magic… or alchemy.Since this CD was released, things have gone worryingly quiet at Clamshell Records—for instance, their website seems to have shut down. If that signals that the end of the label is nigh, it is sad as Clamshell have maintained an impressively high standard with their varied output. However, if this were to be their last release, they have gone out on a terrific high. Keep your fingers crossed that we hear more from Clamshell… and from this quartet, too.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Citizen Jazz” (Frampi Barrieaux, in french): link

Après un récent Iruman ou le multianchiste nippon Akira Sakata affichait sa grande complicité avec le pianiste italienGiovanni di Domenico pour un voyage sensible au travers d’un Japon fantasmé, décliné en une multitude d’instantanés, on retrouve le duo dans un café londonien où se sont déjà enregistrés bon nombre de concerts de free jazz. Surprise : pour l’occasion, une autre doublette s’est joint à eux. Une paire rythmique typiquement britannique où l’on retrouve le contrebassiste John Edwards, récemment aperçu aux côtés de François Carrier, et son vieux complice le batteur Steve Noble, qui fut un partenaire régulier de Derek Bailey ou Lol Coxhill, pour ne citer que le Royaume-Uni. Live at Café Oto est un disque réalisé en une prise, sans filet ; il scelle la rencontre d’un quartet qui n’est pas effrayé par le contact ni l’urgence.

La première partie du concert consiste en une algarade entre un alto secoué de spasmes et le tonitruant jeu d’archet d’Edwards. La masse belliqueuse de la contrebasse est le champ idéal pour le carambolage gigantesque de chacun des solistes. L’alto de Sakata hurle, porté par la batterie de Noble qui roule comme un orage. Au milieu du déluge, le piano s’épanche en petites giboulées aigrelettes, quand Di Domenico ne plaque pas des clusters rageurs. Soudain tout se calme. Une trêve s’organise à mesure que les pizzicati se font plus sereins tout en continuant à gronder. C’est le moment choisi pour passer à la clarinette ; les échanges du quartet se font alors plus complexes, notamment grâce au lyrisme d’un piano devenu moins cogneur. Edwards reste néanmoins central dans le dispositif de tension, comme une courroie de transmission des climats voulus par Sakata, véritable maître du jeu.

C’est lui qui chamboule encore le quartet en psalmodiant au milieu des cloches une litanie japonaise qui semble tout droit sortie d’un temple Shintō. Cette nouvelle facette rappelle ce qu’il a pu développer avec le pianiste au cœur de leur album commun. Le propos se fait alors plus nuancé, chaque musicien cherchant à apporter du relief à la transe éraillée de Sakata. Edwards grince, s’instille entre les cymbales caressées de Noble et le martèlement du piano avant de repartir vers des claquement puissants qui donne à ce concert mordant des atours de vis sans fin.

—————————————————————————————-

 by “Improjazzmag” (David Cristol, in french): link

« Live at Café Oto » s’insère avec bonheur dans le catalogue dirigé par Pablo Correa, avec en prime un élément « perturbateur » en la personne du saxophoniste (et multi-instrumentiste) de free jazz Akira Sakata, toujours très actif à l’approche de son soixante-dixième anniversaire. Le 15 janvier 2014 à Londres se tinrent donc de fameuses échauffourées, les piliers John Edwards et Steve Noble recevant sur leurs terres le soufflant japonais et le pianiste italien Giovanni Di Domenico, collaborateur de Jim O’RourkeTerrie Ex ou Alexandra Grimal. Une seule piste suffit à restituer un concert enlevé, boosté par la personnalité explosive de Sakata, que le passage des années ne semble pas assagir (des travaux récents avec Paal Nilssen-Love et Fred Lonberg-Holm en attestent) et qui entraîne – avec la complicité du pianiste, son partenaire de prédilection depuis quelques années – ses camarades sur la voie d’un jazz ouvert et hyperactif, évoquant quelque fourmilière dérangée par un coup de pied, entre désorganisation initiale et réorganisation frénétique. A la moitié du parcours, Sakata éructe et grogne intensément, les motifs percussifs qui accompagnent alors son art vocal renvoyant autant à la culture traditionnelle de ses ancêtres qu’aux incantations tourmentées des sorcières de Macbeth sur la lande écossaise. Mieux qu’un thriller au cinéma ou un tour de grand-huit, quarante minutes riches en émotions fortes.

—————————————————————————————-

by by “Freeform, Freejazz” (Fabricio Vieira, in portuguese): link ****

O saxofonista japonês Akira Sakata está chegando aos 70 anos com muita vitalidade. Basta ver os vários grandes discos que lançou em anos recentes, especialmente ao lado de músicos europeus. Em passagem por Londres no ano passado, gravou este fantástico disco ao vivo, no Cafe Oto, com um quarteto formado por John Edwards (baixo), Steve Noble (bateria) e Giovanni di Domenico (piano). O par Edwards/Noble, que tocam juntos em diferentes contextos, conduz o rumo da faixa única de cerca de 40 minutos que compõem este Live at Cafe Oto. Sakata parte de seu instrumento base, o sax alto, e também abusa do clarinete, além de não se esquecer das características ácidas incursões com a voz. Música de ontem e de hoje para estimular os ouvidos.

————————-

————————-

————————-

Praise on ‘ Chergui’

01-Front

by “Allaboutjazz” (Glenn Astarita, in english): link ****

These duets by like-minded improvisers, Giovanni di Domenico (piano) and Alexandra Grimal (saxophones) were recorded over two-nights at a Paris theater, radiating classical recital hall-like sonic characteristics. Overall, these two-discs spotlight the artists’ symmetrical encounters and intuitive dialogues, spanning core improvisational aspects, nouveau classical applications and jazzy choruses. Nonetheless, the musicians dig deep while interrogating each other’s spur of the moment thoughts and supplying a collection of glistening contrasts, whether sublime or when they raise the energy level.

di Domenico is often the catalyst. He largely establishes mini-themes with introductory passages, outlined on jazz, classical and free improvisation, along with numerous deconstruction episodes with Grimal. Certain works are designed with swerving and dizzying opuses and on “Koan n°8,” the pianist executes gorgeous phrasings, where the duo slowly drifts matters into a slightly foreboding impasse via a quietly vigorous chain of events. Yet each piece proposes a distinct variation, built on subtleties or fragmented movements. Hence, the musicians leave a lot of space for free-floating exchanges but seldom let the processes evolve into a dissonant battleground.

The duo yields succinct and polite exchanges during “Tema per Jan Svankmayer,” complete with staggered cadenzas and lithely crafted ebbs and flows. Consequently, several works are somewhat stoic and inward-looking, although they inject swirling patterns amid a hint of bop, while raising the pitch with ascending extended notes on “Koan n°6.” The preponderance of these works are engineered with keenly devised abstractions and enough variety to sustain interest, but the artists’ also concoct a great deal of splendor and wonderment, partly aided by the crystalline audio production

—————————————————————————————-

by “Freejazzblog” collective (Joe Higham, in english): link *****

Chergui, a double album, is a collection of duets and solo pieces which are – I imagine – a combination of improvised performances and some compositions. The record opens with the extraordinary Prana, a solo piece by Alexandra Grimal, who develops an initial idea on her soprano which also makes use of the sound of the room – recorded in the Theatre du Châtelet (Paris) – to give the piece this extra dimension that Lacy also enjoyed using. Grimal makes full use of the acoustic, taking advantage of the theatre’s sound to get the best out of the space between notes. It is an 8 minute track which is completely hypnotic, showing perfectly how an idea can be developed into several layers. What also strikes me on this, and the following performances, is the amazing control and clarity of sound that Grimal brings to this difficult saxophone, making the recording a pure joy to hear. The album never lets up from here over it’s eighteen tracks, leading the listener through an intimate and yet searching set of works.

Alexandra Grimal chooses soprano on most tracks, however, on The Window was Camel-less we get to hear the tenor saxophone. Grimal’s approach to the tenor is slightly different and brings something quite special to the duo’s sound which makes you wonder why she didn’t use the instrument on some of the other pieces. The album is, one could say, a celebration of sound and space where Grimal and di Domenico use the theatre’s space and acoustic to build some remarkable duet and solo works. One such work that appears in different guises dotted throughout the album, six in all, is piece titled Koan – versions numbered 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 & 19. These wonderful duets, almost short vignettes between the piano and soprano sax, seem to have planned themes (slightly different each time), which the duo come back to, using a slightly different approach each time to create new work.

As mentioned already there are two discs in this set. The main difference between the two is that the second disc places the emphasis on Giovanni di Domenico. This gives us a perfect chance to really listen to this composer/improviser/pianist, working melody and developing improvisations in a way which are at times close to modern 20th century piano works, and truly captivating also. Pieces such as Zai or Let sounds be themselves show di Domenico’s way of combining contemporary techniques and melody into his own sound world, complementing Grimal’s solo pieces on the CD. Nevertheless, the second album also has several duets which carry on from the first album. Tema Per Jan Svankmayer has a melody which leads the two to explore delicate spaces in the acoustics of the theatre. Ballata dei Piedi Volanti is another piece, that as the title suggests, treads carefully, only revealing the true nature of the melody at the end of the piece.

This recording is a must for all that enjoy improvisation at its highest level and I should add, that if there’s one album you should have bought last year,……it’s this one!

—————————————————————————————-

by “Gapplegate Music Review” (in english): link

I won’t say there will be a time when I “know it all.” Doing these reviews can be a humbling experience because there are so many excellent players-artists out there that I would probably know nothing about unless otherwise exposed, thanks to the labels and artists who send their work. And each has a musical world, some are very unexpected, some familiar, some in between.

An excellent example is the duo of Giovanni di Domenico and Alexandra Grimal and their 2-CD set Chergui (Ayler 141-142). I reviewed something with Giovanni on it a while ago. This is my first brush with the duo.

Alexandra is on soprano and tenor sax; Giovanni plays piano. These are compositional-free pieces, most written by di Domenico, one a collaboration, and a few by Ms. Grimal. Most are for the two together; a few are solo showcases for each artist.

The music has jazz inflections but in many ways is in a new music zone that reflects modern avant classical without necessarily embracing it. It is the “in betweenness” that sets the music off in part as exceptional. That and the fully formed qualities of the playing.

It is music to listen to closely–not background music in any sense. And the more you listen, the more there is to appreciate. There is much that is atmospheric; all has spirit but it is not a “blowing session” so much as it is a carefully thought-out articulation of musical worlds.

I must say this set impresses me greatly. If you are looking for the new and the very good-excellent, this set is that! Listen and ye shall be rewarded.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Mozaic Jazz” (Olivier Acosta, in french): link

Alexandra Grimal et Giovanni Di Domenico donnent une suite au magnifique Ghibli paru en 2011 sur le label Sans bruit. Le premier disque présentait le duo dans un format assez serré, un peu plus d’une demi-heure de poésie suspendue.

Le label Ayler Records prend le relais et propose un double album enregistré au théâtre du Châtelet, collection de solos et duos intimistes et énigmatiques dont le pianiste est le principal compositeur. L’occasion de compléter la série des « Koans », ces courtes séquences qui, dans l’enseignement Bouddhique, prennent la forme d’apories, c’est à dire de contradictions insolubles nécessitant de délaisser les modes de résolution intellectuels pour privilégier d’autres formes de connaissances intuitives, intérieures. Prenons les comme des invitations au lâcher prise, à l’intégration par le ressenti de cette musique plus qu’à son analyse. Honnêtement on ne s’en porte pas plus mal, car elle est aussi belle que sophistiquée, bien que drapée d’une fausse simplicité. La part-belle est laissée au silence, à l’espace préservé, propice au vagabondage de l’imaginaire. Là réside la force de ces pièces. Elles ne sont cérébrales que pour ceux qui les jouent, et je préfère m’y égarer que chercher à en restituer une image détaillée.

Saxophone et piano sculptent le silence, s’y immiscent discrètement où fragilisent sa quiétude. Ca et là l’intensité s’accroît, comme sur « Bi Fluoré » ou « Harmattan », mais la musique est majoritairement caractérisée par un lyrisme voilé, une poésie de l’étrange. L’ivresse vient des possibilités qu’autorise la perception de l’espace. Ecouter Alexandra Grimal jouer sa charmeuse de serpent durant près d’un quart d’heure sur « Diotime et les lions » est un voyage en soi. Se perdre dans les méandres de son propos sur la pièce d’ouverture, « Prāṇa », est un délicieux abandon.  Ses notes semblent se disperser, n’écoutant que leur soif d’évasion. Il y a là un des aspects qui permet aux deux musiciens de se trouver et s’épouser dans cette grande masse silencieuse où ils se déplacent sur la pointe des pieds : c’est cette façon d’égrainer les notes, de les libérer plus que les jouer. « Let Sounds Be Themselves », clame un titre interprété en solo par le pianiste. Oui, les sons ont l’air d’en faire à leur guise, dans une chorégraphie stellaire.  C’est en ne sacrifiant rien de leurs exigences respectives que tous deux parviennent à donner de la cohérence à leurs échanges. Leur conversation est marquée par un refus de toute facilité, car en musique le jeu facile est vite encombrant. Tout est interprété avec d’infinies précautions. Et puis il y a ce risque prit de ne pas emprunter les directions attendues, de laisser les phrases se répandre comme si un vent léger s’accaparait leur trajectoire…  Je perçois à travers cette musique aride les impressions diffuses que procure la contemplation d’un paysage désolé et magnifique, ce sentiment un peu contradictoire d’être tout à la fois fragile et invincible.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Jazz Magazine” (Philippe Carles, in french): ****

« Vent d’est » ou/et « Improvisations et méditations » s’imposeraient en guide de titre ou sous-titre s’ils n’avaient déjà été utilisés dans le champ du jazz enregistré. De fait, qu’il s’agisse de l’intitulé de l’album, « Chergui » (manière de sirocco marocain soufflant d’orient), ou du conclusif et entêtant duo Harmattan (autre vent saharien, fort et sec), du solo d’ouverture Prana (souffle vital en sanskrit), où le saxophone, par sa suavité flûtée et ses circonvolutions quasi pastorales, évoque la ductilité de l’ancestral bansuri d’Inde du nord, ou des six brefs Koan(énigmes-dialogues du bouddhisme zen), les mots, les sons, les rythmes et climats de ces deux disques constituent une parfaite bande-son pour le doux désert photographié par Frédéric Netter qui enveloppe l’album. Un désert dont les dunes seraient nuancées-irriguées par les phases liquidiennes et denses du piano tandis que le souffle du sax semble souligner l’attente interrogative de ce littéral no man’s land.

Quand on se souvient que la précédente rencontre discographique d’Alexandra Grimal et du romain Giovanni di Domenico était intitulée « Ghibli » (autre nom arabe pour désigner le sirocco), on constate ici que ces amoureux d’Eole jouent décidément dans le vent au meilleur sens du terme avec pour devise, signée par le pianiste, Let Sounds Be Themselves, tout simplement.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Native Dancer” (Damien Rupied, in french)

Parmi les noms qui apparaissent régulièrement sur ce blog (enfin, quand il ne dort pas honteusement pendant plusieurs mois), il y a celui d’Alexandra Grimal. Alors qu’elle participe depuis le début de l’année à la nouvelle mouture de l’ONJ sous la direction d’Olivier Benoît, la saxophoniste poursuit en parallèle l’exploration de formats plus intimes. Le pianiste italien Giovanni di Domenico est un complice de longue date d’Alexandra (déjà un disque en quartet et un précédent duo), et cela s’entend sur ces deux CDs qui laissent une grande part au silence et à la retenue, comme pour mieux faire briller les joyaux soniques des deux musiciens. Avec notamment deux longs solos de toute beauté au soprano de la part d’Alexandra (Prana, Diotime et les lions) qui justifient à eux seuls l’acquisition de cet album.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Jazz a Paris” blog (Guy Sitruk, in french): link

Un duo saxophone – piano est déjà une configuration peu fréquente. Sa frugalité même, en l’absence de tout dispositif electronique, conduit à faire des choix esthétiques drastiques.

Ici, le piano égraine davantage qu’il ne submerge. Il laisse beaucoup d’espace aux résonnances, celles des notes graves aussi. Il préfère les faibles intensités aux véhémences. Une forme d’expressionnisme poétique minimaliste, où l’auditeur est sommé de jeter toute impatience aux orties.

Et le saxophone choisit le chant, délié, parfois solitaire, s’aventurant quelques fois sur le champ des intensités. Un chant lui aussi économe, afin de mieux exhaler ses parfums délicats. Des lignes chantournées, des circonvolutions entêtantes, ininterrompues, sauf par moments par des hésitations qui nous déséquilibrent ou par des silences qui nous suspendent.

Un son qui sculpte notre mémoire, retirant un à un les copeaux du déjà entendu. Un double album qui surprend et marque notre sensibilité.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘Sun Ship‘ blog (Frampi Barriaux, in french): link

Le vent est l’allié de la saxophoniste Alexandra Grimal.
La nature, d’une manière globale, qui irrigue sa musique du silence de l’Infiniment grand quand il s’agit d’Andromeda jusqu’aux radiations du soleil dardant lorsqu’elle avait réuni son quartet Dragons pour enregistrer Heliopolis. Mais le vent a sa propre existence, sa propre musique. Celle du saxophone, bien sur, l’outil central, mais aussi celle du vent en tant que manifestation propre.
Le vent et son côté insaisissable et pourtant physiquement actif. Son attitude inéluctable et invincible qui s’adapte à tout les terrains et les obstacles, mais en même temps est capable de les déformer et de les façonner. Le vent mutin et terrible. La brise chaude ou glaciale.
En un mot, et pour quiconque est déjà tombé sous le charme de l’univers de la saxophoniste qu’on retrouve également dans l’affolant ONJ d’Olivier Benoit, le vent est une constante définition d’Alexandra, jusque dans ses aspirations voyageuses que rien ne semble arrêter : L’Egypte de son enfance, la Finlande, les Etats-Unis…
L’italien Giovanni di Domenico est lui aussi sous le signe du vent et du voyage ; le pianiste est lui aussi un voyageur qu’on a déjà croisé au Japon avec le saxophoniste Akira Sakata. Leur premier album, sorti sur le label Sans Bruit portait déjà le nom d’un Sirocco, le Ghibli. Ces vents de Sud chaud qui balaient le sable saharien jusqu’au contreforts des Alpes portent plusieurs noms, et Chergui en est un autre.
C’est le présent vent auquel s’attache le duo, dans un double album sorti sur le label Ayler Records et enregistré au Théâtre du Châtelet, ce qui donne à ce disque une chaleur très profonde, qui permet de saisir tous les détails, tous les mouvements, ainsi que toutes les évocations d’un silence omniprésent et fortement évocateur. Ce silence trouve son essence dans “The Köln Concept” (ironie?), sur le second album ou quelques notes caressées par le piano viennent le troubler, à la manière d’une goutte qui vient iriser l’onde.
Il y a dans l’approche naturaliste du duo une grande poésie et une attention de tout instant pas seulement à sa propre musique, mais aussi à son interactions avec les éléments, à l’instar du vent, là encore. Parfois, le duo se scinde, offre des morceaux solistes à chacun d’eux, voire se sépare le double album en deux disques d’influences, comme des pôles attirés qui se complètent plus qu’ils s’opposent. La plupart des morceaux ont beau être signés par le pianiste, il y a clairement une face Grimal (1) et une face Di Domenico (2). La synthèse se fait dans notre imaginaire, dans lequel la musique de chambre des deux compères à laissé de fructueuses graminées.
Ainsi, le premier disque de Chergui s’ouvre sur “Prāna”, un solo absolument saisissant d’Alexandra qui consiste en de longues notes tenues et vibrantes, d’apparences fragiles mais qui s’avèrent très vite insubmersibles et profondes. Elle emplit le silence pour mieux l’apprivoiser, le malaxe et le façonne. Et puis vient le piano pour la rejoindre sur “The Window was Camel-less”, et le toucher main gauche si caractéristique de Domenico, à la fois lourd et sec ; les deux se trouvent tout de suite, même en semblant partir dans des directions opposées.
Le second album est plus marqué par le pianiste, à commencer par ce remarquable solo “Let Sounds Be Themselves” et sa progression par nappes successives qui s’empare de l’espace sans jamais l’occuper totalement.
Tout au long de Chergui les deux comparses se rejoignent, s’encerclent, se frôlent, mais ne se heurtent jamais, même lorsque le ton monte. Ce sera notamment le cas dans Harmattan (encore un vent…) en toute fin de second album. Le flot qui emporte tout sur son passage, mais il se rassérène soudain. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de calme après la tempête, il s’agit de la masse de silence qui reprendrait peu à peu sa forme originelle.
Prāna, nous en parlions, est un terme de Yoga où il est encore question de souffle, vital cette fois. La sagesse orientale est très présente dans le voyage chambriste de Grimal et di Domenico. C’est le cas notamment de ces six “Koan” qui émaillent l’album et peuvent être envisagés comme une suite, y compris avec Ghibli qui en comptait cinq. Ils s’illustrent par leur approche paradoxalement très marqués par la musique écrite occidentale. Dans le magnifique “Koan n°11” notamment, où le piano vient mettre en abstraites perspectives la rêverie de la saxophoniste, jusqu’à la rendre nébuleuse.
Plus loin, Sur la longue pièce « Diotime et les Lions », écrit par Alexandra Grimal et inspiré du récit de Henry Bauchau, elle perpétuera cette tangente discrète entre Orient et Occident en faisant corps à corps avec elle-même, ferraillant avec le vent qui la submerge mais ne la vainc pas, laissant la place à l’essentiel.
Et l’essentiel, ici comme presque partout ailleurs, c’est la Musique. Belle et intense.
C’est encore à un très beau rendez-vous que nous convie Ayler Records. Peut-être un de ses plus raffiné, qui laisse toute la place aux musiciens pour exprimer leur musique dans toute leur profondeur. On ajoutera enfin que la pochette est agrémentée de très belle photos de la chère Hélène Collon.
Tout est donc réuni pour signer un très grand disque.

—————————————————————————————-

by Thierry Giard (Culture Jazz, in french)

En 2010, l’écoute du disque « Seminare Vento » (Free lance) mettait en évidence la complicité artistique entre le pianiste Giovanni di Domenico et la saxophoniste Alexandra Grimal dans le contexte d’un quartet. Ils ont déjà enregistré en duo (2009-2010) : « Ghibli » pour le label Sans Bruit. On les retrouve avec ce double album « Chergui » où chacun prend aussi le temps de s’exprimer en solo sur plusieurs plages. Une musique aérienne, poétique, extrêmement maîtrisée : chaque note est à sa juste place. Assez impressionnant mais il faut accepter de se laisser conduire dans leur cheminement…

—————————————————————————————-

by Luc Bouquet (ImproJazz, in french)

La dernière fois qu’un duo piano-soprano m’avait bouleversé c’était en 1999 à l’occasion de la sortie du Soul & Masters de David Liebman & Michael Gerber (Cactus 9901). Depuis pas mal de bonnes choses ont nourri mes oreilles mais rien qui ne détrône le CD ci-dessus nommé. Et voici qu’avec Chergui, la magie resurgit. Et pour ne rien gâcher à l’histoire c’est un double CD. Le bonheur se porte double avec Giovanni Di Domenico & Alexandra Grimal.

La sopraniste possède une sensibilité envoûtante. Son phrasé est courbe, parfois impressionniste. On y trouve douceur et éclat. Ce n’est pas un cri, ce n’est pas un murmure mais une implication de chaque instant. C’est la justesse du dire. C’est la grâce qui se dévoile à nos oreilles. Ce sont les sonates que Debussy avait oublié de composer. C’est parfois un court détour par la marge. Et parfois aussi, de toutes petites choses, presque lacyennes. C’est un monde de résonnance et de délectation.

ll y a chez Giovanni Di Domenico quelque chose du grand Charles-Valentin Alkan. Il y a ce savant secret des songes exposés. Il y a ces accroches-notes, ces accroche-cœurs. Voici le silence. Puis voici la note qui le dévoile et l’enveloppe. Ici, il y a réellement la présence du silence. Di Domenico se déleste, ne veille qu’à l’essentiel. Que dire de plus ?

Le premier CD est plutôt centré sur la saxophoniste, le second sur le pianiste et dans les deux cas, mon stylo oublia de prendre note. Il y a des musiques qui combattent les mots, qui les rendent superflus. Qu’ils continuent ainsi : notre âme n’en sera que plus peuplée.

————————-

————————-

————————-

cover 2 hires

 

by ‘Freejazzblog’(Joe Higham, in english): link

If there was ever a Zen record then maybe this is it? Kalimi is made up of Giovanni di Domenico (Fender Rhodes and electronics) and Mathieu Calleja (Drums), back with this excellent release of minimalist sound duos. Although the record is dated 2014 its taken awhile for the label, Silent Water Label, to put the record out. However, its a welcome addition to their excellent catalogue of contemporary jazz/improvised music releases which include GOING, reviewed earlier in 2015.

The sound and approach of Kalimi could be described as minimalist (although not in Steve Reich/Philip Glass terms). Built around the use of melody and punctuated noise (one could call it), is at moments truly hypnotic. The music is strongly based around developing the keyboard’s ability to feedback and hold lingering sounds, along with drum beats which not only frame the music, but give the duo a direction. What makes the drum’s approach so interesting is that Mathieu Calleja plays them in a relatively ‘straight-ahead’ manner, and not as abstract splashes of sound. This helps the music to build-up in an organic way and is in part what makes the music easily listenable, although clearly experimental.

Before saying a little about the music it seems (to me) that the record works well when heard as a sort of suit, and not as individual tracks. As record opens we are introduced to the delicate sound world of this duo. With tracks such as “forever high” (tk1) and “otona no kagaku”(tk6) the music hangs in the air ready to move in any direction. However, other pieces offer a more raunchy solution such as the brief “7.1” (tk2), or the fascinating “selfie my ass”(tk3), which much like a card player gradually revealing their hand, leads us into a dark musical territory. But nothing compares with the two heaviest pieces, the violent “b’hier” (tk4), and “9.2” (tk7), which jump straight in to surprise you with high energy sonic attacks, “9.2” is also the last track on the album which closes this excellent record.

Highly recommended to all who enjoy a mixture of jazz, noise and rock – a possible reference point (or ‘tag’) could be Supersilent?

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘lesondugrisli‘ blog, Guillaume Belhomme (in french): link

C’est pour le moment la seule référence de Kalimi, duo que forment Giovanni Di Domenico(électronique et claviers) et Mathieu Calleja (batterie) – la paire est déjà associée dans le quartette Going –, mais elle promet.

De voir se développer, notamment, une association qui fait de l’acharnement instrumental le premier élément de ses franches conversations. Au Rhodes, Di Domenico sature souvent quand son électronique multiplie les sorties de piste ou façonne de longs signaux. Quant àCalleja, qu’il agace son partenaire ou marque mollement le temps, il bout sans discontinuer et entretient la flamme qui fait de cette improvisation ex abrupto un bien joli baptême.

————————-

————————-

————————-

Praise on ‘Iruman’

Iruman_capa

—————————————————————————————-

by The Wire (in english): link

—————————————————————————————-

by All About Jazz (in english): link

Surprisingly, Iruman is saxophonist Akira Sakata’s first piano duo recording in his forty-plus year career. The question this disc raises is not why did it take him so long to record in this format, but could another duo performance eclipse this one?

Sakata has been flag bearer of the Japanese free jazz movement since the 1970s. Recording first with pianist Yosuke Yamashita, then he was ‘discovered’ by bassist Bill Laswell and he went on to record with Material, Last Exit, Mooko, Peter Kowald. He has been featured with DJ Krush and become a favorite of guitarist Jim O’Rourke and drummer Chris Corsano. Their recordings And That’s The Story Of Jazz… (Family Vineyard, 2011) and Live At Hungry Brain (Family Vineyard, 2011) with Darin Gray are minor masterpieces.

The studio recording between Sakata and Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico self taught until age 24, yields ten improvised passages that mix concepts of Eastern and Western music and free jazz as if the pair were presenting musical koans. Iruman opens with fragile and subtle piano and the ringing of bells as wind chimes. “Yellow Sand Blowing” mixes the skittering jerky alto of Sakata dancing over the raindrops of piano notes. Giovanni Di Domenico has the inclination to play notes that rely either on their immediacy or linger as memories of sound or, perhaps emotion. He plays with an outsider artist’s take on classical music. The pair mix some thunderous piano against chanting on “Yamadera Ni Kikoyuru Koe/Voice from a Temple in the Deep Mountain” and dancing notes against the vocalization with “Papiruma.” The music is in constant reinvention. The chamber jazz of “Tanbo Ni Mizu Ga Hairu/Water Coming Into Rice Field in the Spring” is juxtaposed against “Moe II/Bud II” an aggressive back-and-forth scuffle of notes that ultimately finds compromise in the pair’s cooperation. Marc Corroto

—————————————————————————————-

by Volcanic Tongue (David Keenan, in english): link

Stunning studio set from this legendary Japanese free jazz saxophonist in the company of pianist Giovanni Di Domenico: Sakata plays alto sax, clarinet, bells and shakers and he sings in a spontaneous old man of the mountains/crazy wisdom style. This is a blazing set w/a heady diamond-sharp, questing appeal. Akira Sakata has long been one of the key players on the Japanese free jazz underground, playing as a part of Yamashita Yosuke’s trio and forging alliances with players like Peter Brotzmann and Sonny Sharrock, who he played with as part of Last Exit, as well as noise groups like Hijokaidan. When he’s blasting on all cylinders he has all the emotive power of a David S. Ware or a Peter Brotzmann, but he’s just as likely to get down with the weird, sinuous melodic lines of a Dolphy or a Lacy. Di Domenico is a stunning foil, sometimes extrapolating Sakata’s lines, other times creating weird, dunting bass counterpoints, worrying over great boulders of bottom end w/all the deliberately inchoate tactile doofs of a Dumitrescu before devolving in light, skipping patterns and flighty, extended runs. The atmosphere shunts from gregarious power visions of the sound of now through quizzical, haiku-like asides out into pure meat joy song-forms, making this one of the premier duo exchange’s of recent years. A stand-out set, very highly recommended!

—————————————————————————————-

by “New York City Jazz Gazette” (in english): link

Alto saxophonist Akira Sakata has been known for his explosive style over the last 40 years, but Iruman, his recent duet outing with Italian pianist Giovanni di Domenico, is a comparatively sedate affair. The opening tracks, of short and medium length, insinuate themselves gently upon the listener in slow-rolling climaxes and light banter. Sakata’s tone is edgy but poised, his clarinet sound muffled but keening and several tracks feature his hoarse- voiced, theatrical singing style. “Moe I/Bud I” has all-out skronking, but the most effective moments— on “Lotus Blossom in an Old Pond”, “Water Coming into the Rice Field in Spring”, “The Peaceful Atmosphere of a Wood Sukiya-style Temple” and “Papiruma”—derive their impact through less forceful means, a result of close simpatico. The epic finale, “Moe II/Bud II”, turns up the intensity once again, navigating through a series of episodes that range from high excitement to relative tedium.

—————————————————————————————-

by Stefan Wood (freejazzblog, in english): link

Akira Sakata has been a standard bearer for free jazz in Japan for over forty years.  Giovanni Di Domenico, thirty years younger than Akira, is an Italian born, Cameroon raised pianist who operates in both improvised jazz and classical worlds.  Together they form a remarkable duo.  Akira has a deep, full bodied tenor sax sound, and Giovanni’s percussive and classically informed playing (his influences stem from both Italy and Cameroon, where he was raised) complement each other in unexpected ways, tempering each other’s moods, or fused together as one in their improvisations.  Their collaborative effort,  Iruman, is an outstanding work that inhabits both Eastern and Western cultures, deeply spiritual, and very creative.
Outstanding tracks are “Bud I” & “Bud II”  (a reference to Bud Powell?), two blistering tracks that pulls and twists the listener’s ears like taffy.  Akira fills a lot of the space with his bold playing, inhabiting the middle to lower register, while Giovanni’s piano does the upper, and it is the progressive changes in the tracks that makes it interesting.  There is a high level of playing, as the improvisations are well conceived and executed — one is always surprised by the changes in mode and mood.  “Lotus blossom in an old pond” is a classically influenced chamber piece, a mixture of late Eric Dolphy and early Chico Hamilton.
Two of the most interesting tracks are when Akira uses vocals instead of his sax; “Papiruma” and “Voice from a temple,” which are very theatrical; Akira’s utterances like in Noh theater, mixed with chimes and a percussive piano accompaniment.  One should note that the titles for each track really do convey conceptually the music performed.  On the final track, “Yellow Sand blowing from China,” they are able to convey the winds with a rolling flow of notes, undulating, hynoptic.  Iruman is a successful duets album, conceptually strong and expertly executed.
Highly recommended.
—————————————————————————————-
by Martin Schray (freejazzblog, in english): link
Interestingly enough – especially when you listen how easy it seems to be for Sakata – he has never played in a duo with a pianist before. It seems even more surprising that he does it now with Giovanni Di Domenico, a 37-year-old Italian musician who grew up in Africa and who has played with lots of the top dogs like Arve Henriksen, Toshimaru Nakamura or Alexandra Grimal. His album “Posh Scorch” with Nate Wooley and Chris Corsano was one of my favorite albums in 2013.“Iruman” consists of ten mainly improvised tracks which combine traditional Japanese music, Western classical music and African influences as well as free jazz moments – but most of all some tracks remind of the music of Jimmy Giuffre.“A Piece of Silence” sets the tone of the album, Di Domenico’s fragile tones almost show a relation to pianists like Colin Vallon, while Sakata’s bells and shakers sound like windchimes – you might feel like you are listening to an ECM production. Then, “Yellow Sand Blowing from China” presents Sakata on alto, his elegant sound contrasting Di Domenico’s hard touch on the piano. When Sakata plays the clarinet on “Lotus Blossom in an Old Pond”, “Water coming into Rice Field” and “The Peaceful Atmosphere of a Wood Sukiya-style Temple”, the Giuffre’s reminiscences are most obvious, the first one is the most beautiful track on the album being close to the border to classical chamber music, e.g. Brahms’ sonatas for clarinet and piano. When the musicians combine prepared piano sounds and percussion against Sakata’s chanting on “Voice from a Temple in the Deep Mountain”, which is very melancholic in contrast to his singing on “Arashi”, they show that their music is under constant change, all their different approaches are being displayed again and again. The final (and longest) track “Bud II” proves this: Compared to the elegant and subtle improvisations before, this is an aggressive back-and-forth conversation which is replaced by a cool-jazz-like middle part just to break free at the end again.“Iruman” might even be called a romantic approach to improvisation, hardly ever has Sakata’s world been so accessible – flowing nicely in free structures as well as in an emotional atmosphere. A very recommendable album.
 —————————————————————————————-
by Citizen Jazz (Frampi Barriaux, in french): link
Personnalité centrale de l’histoire du free jazz au Japon, Akira Sakata mène, parallèlement à ses activités universitaires dans le domaine de la biologie, une remarquable carrière iconoclaste qui l’a mené aux côtés de Bill Laswell ou DJ Krush… mais aussi de personnalités plus radicales, comme le guitariste Jim O’Rourke ou le duo rythmicien Chikamorachi (Davin Gray à la basse et Chris Corsano à la batterie). Avec Iruman, enregistré avec le pianiste italien Giovanni Di Domenico, il se lance dans un duo farouche, mais étonnamment serein. A l’image de l’estampe du XVIIIe siècle illustrant la pochette, qui représente un tigre sûr de sa puissance.

À son habituel alto et à sa clarinette, il ajoute des cloches et divers objets percussifs. Son puissant chant de gorge illumine « Yamadera ni kikoyuru koe », que le piano transporte en une nuée incisive au cœur d’un temple shinto. Car le Japon est omniprésent dans cette rencontre entre Sakata et un pianiste voyageur déjà croisé aux côtés d’Alexandra Grimal [1]. Mais plus qu’un voyage sensoriel à travers l’archipel comme le récent On The Path Of Death And Life de Fumio Yasuda, Iruman est une succession d’instants, de haïku fulgurants, pénétrants, où un piano impressionniste se frotte à l’abrupte sobriété de Sakata. Ces pièces permettent aux solistes d’explorer toutes sortes de paysages, souvent balayés par des bourrasques soudaines. Ainsi, « Kousa no odori » prend naissance dans l’intensité torride de l’alto, que Di Domenico habille d’ornements classiques.

C’est parfois un propos très chambriste auquel nous convie le duo ; la clarinette qui s’épanche dans « Sukiyazukuri no tatazumai » effleure les cordes d’un piano submergé par les profondeurs de la main gauche. Mais même en ces moments propices à la méditation, le dialogue est un feu qui couve. Il sait se faire dévorant dans les deux parties de « Moe », qui en japonais signifie « bourgeon ». La biologie refait surface en cette inexorable montée en sève… Sur « Moe II », le jeu de Sakata devient heurté, généreux, presque vertigineux tant la virulence de l’échange est fertile avec le martèlement d’un piano qui conserve une certaine élégance dans ce soudain emportement. Une rencontre des plus fructueuses entre des univers opposés mais loin d’être antagonistes.

 —————————————————————————————-

by Gapplegate Music Review blog (in english): link

One cannot be everywhere at once, ear-wise or otherwise. The result is that I am guilty of paying insufficient attention to Japanese reedman Akira Sakata over the years. I am catching up though (type his name in the search box for two previous postings), and as luck would have it I received a copy of his recent disk with pianist Giovanni di Domenico, Iruman (Mbari 21).

I am very glad I did. This is a 40-something minute get together of the two that shows an avant sensitivity and a synthesis of Japanese roots and international expression. Akira plays alto, clarinet, and vocalizes a bit while Giovanni plays a centered outness on piano that suits well Akira’s brightly explosive outbursts between seas of calm-tone contrasts.

Akira sounds excellent on both alto and clarinet. Giovanni has lots of avant fullness that comes through and plays off of Sakira’s well-conceived reed spontaneity. They run a gamut of expression here and do so with long-form and miniaturist monumentality.

It’s an excellent outing!

—————————————————————————————-

by Jazzword (Ken Waxman, in english): link

Expressively dexterous and modest improvisations, which despite a minimalist presentation skirt the quietude of so-called Chamber Jazz, these reed-piano duos show how much can be invested and extracted from this simple format.

Chief points of demarcation here are radically different. On Iruman, veteran Japanese reedist Akira Sakata gradually toughen the interaction between his playing and that of Italian-born, Brussels-resident pianist Giovanni Di Domenico so that by the climatic final piece they’re engaged in rapid-fire near-atonality.

With a background that includes memories of Third World melodies as well as education in Jazz and European classical music, it takes a little while for Di Domenico’s moderato tinkling and low-frequency runs to toughen here. Meantime Sakata, who has been a major force in Japanese Free Music since the late 1960s and recently has worked with everyone from drummer Chris Corsano to bassist Bill Laswell, moves among harsh alto saxophone bites, contralto clarinet smears, implement shaking and an Orientialized variant of throat-singing. This vocalizing and bell-shaking, which mixes vocalese with off-key groaning and crying is featured most on “Papiruma/Papiruma”; while Di Domenico’s sparkling glissandi make a perfect foil for Sakata’s surprisingly mellow sax lines on “Sukiyazukuri No Tatazumai/The Peaceful Atmosphere of a Wood Sukiya-style Temple”. Having gained in assurance as well, it seems, Di Domenico exposes galloping key clanks that effectively counter Sakata’s split tones and sound shards by the time “Moe I/Bud I” comes around.

Nonetheless, the preceding nine tracks are merely preludes to the quarter-hour plus “Moe II/Bud II” that moves through several exhilarating sequences where the keyboardist’s pile-driver flair is easily the match for the saxman’s violent split-tone attack. Turning to keyboard pressure as a proper response to Sakata’s wriggling and honking vibrations, a crescendo of circular patterning by Di Domenico is attained then subsides along with Sakata’s response. A distinctive coda involving the pianist’s well-calculated sweeps subtly complements the reedist’s conclusive peeps which are high-pitched, yet manage not to disrupt the narrative.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali (Ettore Garzia, in italian): link

Spesso non si valuta in senso positivo l’immediatezza di un gesto artistico. Soprattutto nell’arte complessa si è propensi a credere che sotto le spoglie di un set lungo e articolato si celi sempre una personalità di pari sostanza; ma se scorriamo la storia della musica di gesti artistici relativamente semplici e immediatamente fruibili dall’ascoltatore ne abbiamo avuto conferma varie volte ed in misure più o meno eclatanti: prendete in considerazione l’imponenza instantanea di un pianista alle prese con una performance romantica, di un jazzista che in quattro accordi vi catapulta in un’oasi di rilassamento o di benessere interiore o di un rocker che si inventa con successo qualche pandomina per attirare inesorabilmente l’attenzione e la corrispondenza dell’audience.
Arrivare velocemente nei sistemi di percezione degli uditori (non importa se discretamente o violentemente) è una delle maggiori qualità di un musicista: ed è esattamente quanto avviene in “Iruman“, una registrazione effettuata a Tokio da un duo inedito di jazzisti appartenenti a sponde geografiche diverse. Da una parte il pianista Giovanni Di Domenico e dall’altra il sassofonista Akira Sakata. Nonostante l’evidente differenza d’età, la differenza generazionale è il fattore di riuscita di “Iruman“, i due musicisti proiettano i loro mondi artistici mettendoli di fianco l’uno con l’altro ma senza prevaricazioni, quasi con rispetto; e nell’integrazione non sintetica delle due prospettive se ne ricava una ulteriore che è la somma amplificata di entrambe. Sakata porta con sè la sua pragmatica ed unica visuale orientale (che abbiamo avuto l’onore di ascoltare nelle tante prove della sua carriera) che si nutre anche dell’improvvisazione libera rivisitata come in una sorta di filtro universale, privata nel senso, delle sue originali connotazioni occidentali. Akira si libra tra melodiche escursioni, brevi ed ipnotiche elucubrazioni vocali mistiche che sanno di tradizione e progettualità teatrale, campanelli che funzionano come breaks di scena ed improvvise sferzate nello spettro dell’improvvisazione più rude e caotica. Una carta vincente da sempre.
Di Domenico invece è un frutto della modernità: pensoso, sistematico, con approcci differenziati alla tastiera, non disdegna un respiro melodico che inevitabilmente porta il nostro pensiero ad una ronda classicista. Ma la vera qualità artistica di Giovanni è il saper mettere le note giuste al posto giusto nel mosaico che si compone gradualmente per via di quella funzione subdola che crea e forma immagini mentali nello sviluppo musicale. Una capacità evocativa sempre presente, che utilizza patterns musicali differenti, ma che avvinghia e non delude mai.
“Iruman” è pieno di queste connotazioni e segna vertici per entrambi i musicisti: è anche una testimonianza culturale antropologica, poichè cerca di trovare una corrispondenza umanitaria universale che dimostri che (al di là di quello che ci racconta la storia) sia possibile ripescare un grado di appartenenza biologica degli individui di tutto il mondo che sia immune da vizi.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘JazzWrap’ (in english): link

An absolutely brilliant duet session from Giovanni Di Domenico and Akira Sakata! While yes, a good majority of Iruman is improvised, the two musician smoothly create a beautiful soundscape that this lush and romantic. And its stands out more than its improvised parts. “Yellow Sand Blowing From China” and “Lotus Blossom In A Old Pond,” are both deeply involved numbers but the intricately place notes by Di Domenico set a romantic path for listener. This run tangent to Sakata’s sprawling lines and once blended together become bold and outrageous statements of adventure. On the fresh and rampant “Bud I,” the duo show a marvelous combination of notes. This piece felt reminiscent of Ornette Coleman with Sakata running up the scales at full-blast. Di Domenico following with great agility. “Papiruma,” is more a spiritual outing between Sakata utilizing his improvised vocals along side Di Domenico’s arpeggios on the keys. Exciting and challenging movements and worth treasuring. Throughout Iruman you get a sense of a solid understanding between the two musicians; in addition to a edict to find other spaces for their lyrics to go. This is a daring yet pleasing session that flows nicely in free form as well as in an uplifting and emotional atmosphere. Highly Recommended.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘Le Son Du Grisli‘ (in french): link

Il y a deux sortes de fluidité ici. Celle du benjamin, Giovanni Di Domenico, est conditionnée par des ambiances crépusculaires. Le pianiste égrène le velours mais évite tout lyrisme facile. Il est celui qui fredonne la mélodie, ne se détache que très rarement du cadre. C’est un homme de soutien et de confiance. A l’opposé, celle de l’aîné, le bouillonnant Akira Sakata, multiplie les entailles. Giuffrien et bourdonnant à la clarinette, le japonais agrippe des souffles batailleurs. Son alto est épais, harcelant, frondeur. Il fissure parfois la flexibilité de son partenaire.

Mais, toujours, se trouvent et ne se lâchent plus. Nus et frémissants, benjamin et aîné forment un couple parfait. Ne se perdent jamais dans la facilité. Et par deux fois rejoignent le poignant quand la voix gémissante et ancestrale de Sakata auréole de son âme déchirée un disque ne manquant ni de charme(s) ni d’atout(s). Luc Bouquet

—————————————————————————————-

by Antonio Terzo (Jazzcolours Magazine, in italian)

Un album in duo da cui emanano diverse fra- granze, frutto di profonda ispirazione musicale radicata nell’estemporaneità. Protagonisti il pia- nista Giovanni Di Domenico, italiano residente da tempo in Belgio, e l’ancista nipponico Akira Sakata, classe ’45, qui anche al clarinetto oltre- ché al consueto sax alto: una coppia collaudata nel tempo, che finalmente trova documenta- zione in quello che è il primo disco di Sakata in duo con un pianista. Inciso in studio a Tokyo e pubblicato dalla portoghese Mbari, “Iruman” si rifà ad un lemma giapponese di derivazione por- toghese, portato nel Sol Levante dai Gesuiti nel XVI secolo e affine a irmão, ossia fratello. Il la- voro del duo, tuttavia, non vuole evocare due diversi mondi che si incontrano, ma traccia in- vece un universo sonoro spazioso dove le idee estemporanee dei due trovano posto, senza re- strizioni ed anzi ampliandosi e rafforzandosi a vicenda. Di Domenico lascia da parte i dispositivi elettronici e si muove sul pianoforte, in piena, un suono grosso e poderoso che sa farsi essen- ziale all’occorrenza: come nell’avvio A Piece of Silence, dove le minimali note del piano sono contornate dai campanellini votivi del buddismo, sapientemente rintoccati da Sakata. Yellow Sand Blowing from China porta una ventata di note leggere e delicate, mentre Lotus Blossom in an Old Pond è un brano cameristico, Sakata abban- dona le irruenze del sax e imbocca un clarinetto sinuoso e rotondo. In Voice from a Temple in the

Deep Mountain le riflessioni del piano, percosso anche dall’interno, sostengono i sonagli e poi la voce contrita di Sakata, una preghiera, forse, si- curamente un’urgenza espressiva ancestrale: ip- nosi al di là del jazz. Più acrobatico, il suo contralto in Moe I/Bud I sembra sfuggire conti- nuamente al piano, felice di assecondarne le tu- multuose cavalcate. Torna il clarinetto in Water Coming into Rice Field in the Spring, i cui flutti sono arginati dalle solide punteggiature di Di Do- menico, che ora ne segue il range, ora vi si con- trappone per contrasto timbrico, creando con Sakata un panneggio composito e sfaccettato. Più spirituale The Peaceful Atmosphere of a Wood Sukiya-style Temple — il pezzo più rap- presentativo della musica del duo —, ancora il clarinetto ma questa volta più raccolto e solle- citato dalle soluzioni timbriche e percussive del piano. Il quale sa rendersi luminoso nell’affre- sco di The Bee and the Sunshine, tinteggiato dal vibrante clarinetto. I vocalismi tornano in Papi- ruma, a metà fra invocazione e inflessioni da teatro kabuki. L’intesa raggiunge l’apice in Moe II/Bud II, non a caso a fine scaletta, con un di- steso recitato di Di Domenico che addolcisce gli acuti dell’alto: 15 minuti di lancinante bellezza. Inutile andare a ricercare simili precedenti nel jazz o nell’avanguardia in generale, ciò che qui conta è l’intensità che il duo raggiunge, nell’equilibrio di un lavoro coerente eppure tutto improvvisato.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘Enola‘ (Guy Peters, in flemish): link

Het jaar was nog maar pas begonnen, het concertseizoen moest nog op gang getrokken worden, maar daar stonden ze dan: rietblazer Akira Sakata (°1945) en pianist Giovanni Di Domenico (°1977), in de kelder van de Gentse Resistenza. Het duo trad op ter gelegenheid van de release van Iruman en liet er een indruk na die nog lang nazinderde. Ook het album weet die bijzondere sfeer helemaal te creëren met een fascinerende, soms bloedmooie combinatie van compact ritualisme en mystieke poëzie.

De titels, die zowel in het Japans als het Engels opgenomen zijn, spreken boekdelen. Het zijn haast muzikale tegenhangers van de beelden op de Japanse houtsneden (of de prachtige hoesafbeelding van de 18e-eeuwse artiest Maruyama Ōkyo), van traditionele plattelandsiconografie, met in mist gehulde bergtoppen, bloesemregens en klaterende beekjes. Intussen misschien wat cliché, maar dat is de muziek van dit duo allerminst. Integendeel: het is een veelgelaagde, genuanceerde samenwerking waarin elke klank, zelfs het tumultueuze gehamer en de schrille saxuitschieters die hier en daar de kop opsteken, op zijn plaats lijkt te staan.

Het is dan ook opmerkelijk dat dit de eerste duoplaat met een pianist is die Sakata opneemt in een carrière van veertig jaar. In die periode werd hij een illustere naam binnen de Japanse improvisatie, maar vanaf de jaren tachtig ging hij ook steeds vaker naar het buitenland. Zo leidde een vruchtbare relatie met Bill Laswell tot een resem albums en wat concerten aan de zijde van Last Exit, en waren ook de voorbije jaren gevuld met creatieve hoogtepunten: Sakata speelt regelmatig met figuren als Jim O’Rourke en Chris Corsano en was te horen op de Concert For Fukushima DVD die het Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet in 2011 opnam.

Di Domenico is eigenlijk minstens zo’n boeiende figuur: lange tijd een autodidact die door de job van z’n vader opgroeide in Italië, maar ook lang in Afrika woonde en via heel wat omzwervingen uiteindelijk belandde in Brussel, waar hij nog steeds gevestigd is. Zijn muziek situeert zich in de uiteenlopende werelden van de drones en avant-garde tot de vrije improvisatie, terwijl invloeden reiken van Borah Bergman en Cecil Taylor tot Debussy en non-Westerse muziek. De confrontatie met de Japanner voelt ook vanzelfsprekend aan. Ondanks momenten van frictie en abstractie blijft de eenheid domineren.

Wat opvalt is ook hoe kort de stukken hier zijn: negen stuks variëren qua lengte van anderhalve tot zes minuten, enkel het slot breidt uit tot een kwartier. Sakata staat vooral bekend als altsaxofonist, maar dat instrument hanteert hij hier maar een paar keer, want hij speelt ook klarinet, gebruikt belletjes en shakers en in twee stukken maakt hij al zingend indruk. In de korte, delicate opener “A Piece Of Silence” zorgt de combinatie van sobere pianonoten en belletjesgerinkel meteen voor een ongrijpbare, zijdezachte sfeer. De toon is gezet.

Op altsax klinkt Sakata doorgaans enorm fris en energiek. “Yellow Sand Blowing From China” gaat meteen springerig en zingend van start, met dwarrelend weerwerk van Di Domenico. Het staat in schril contrast met de hoekige erupties van “Bud I”, waarin sax en piano strijden met excentrieke sprongen, denderend vs. flitsend. En toch beheerst de muziek zelfs dan, in z’n meest ontregelde momenten, die statigheid en coherentie. Afsluiter “Bud II” lijkt die twee stukken haast te combineren: beweeglijk en energiek, maar tegelijkertijd rauw en onvoorspelbaar, maar ook met intens jeremiërende passages en neurotisch pianowerk dat het beste uit verschillende werelden combineert.

De klarinetstukken zijn doorgaans meer sereen en mysterieus. “Lotus Blossom In An Old Pond” is ingetogen kamermuziek die perfect aansluit bij die titel, net als het vederlicht trippelende “Water Coming Into Rice Field In The Spring”, waarvan de kringelende patronen geleidelijk aan duidelijk worden. “The Bee And The Sunshine” vormt dan weer een mooi contrast: de sax door circulaire ademhaling trillend en zoemend, de piano als ongedurige gesprekspartner. Het meest opvallend zijn vermoedelijk echter de stukken met zang. In Gent leidde dat tot intens persoonlijke hoogtepunten en dat is op Iruman opnieuw het geval.

In “Voice From A Temple In The Deep Mountain” wordt het voorbereidende werk gedaan door piano en ritselende shakers: het heeft meteen al een ritualistisch karakter, en als die stem er dan nog eens bijkomt – aanvankelijk kreunend, grommend vanuit de keel, vanachter op elkaar geperste lippen, en dan ineens expressiever en ongebonden, woorden nadrukkelijker prevelend, declamerend en galmend – dan zorgt dat voor een verrassend emotionele impact. Je krijgt er niet helemaal greep op, maar het resultaat is pure poëzie. Idem voor het compacte “Papiruma”, dat iets minder dat majestueuze heeft en sneller mikt op een theatraal effect.

Iruman blijft zo’n album dat je niet helemaal uitgelegd krijgt. Hoewel Sakata en Di Domenico doorheen deze tien stukken spelen met een overduidelijke focus en eensgezindheid, is het ook een album dat je blijft ontglippen: door de tradities waaruit de twee putten, door de voortdurende creativiteit, maar ook door het persoonlijke verhaal dat hier verteld wordt. Iruman is, net als het concert van het duo, een van de verrassingen van het voorjaar.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘Opdoodles’ blog (Bruno Benard-Guedes, in portuguese): link

Como um irredutível átomo capaz de escorar toda uma intangível dimensão sonora, narrativa, anímica, ontológica, metafísica – assim é o acurado brio dialético que emana da poética cartografia quartomundista permitida na imensidão sensorial deste sincrético encontro de Akira Sakata – saxofonista e clarinetista crucial na história de mais de quatro décadas do free jazz japonês – com o emérito piano do italiano Giovanni Di Domenico. Discograficamente viabilizado pela gravadora lisboeta Mbari, “Iruman” é uma prodigiosa síntese do generoso e aprilino labor de Sakata, num diálogo de impoluta afinidade estética com Di Domenico e com o fértil caudal de memória e de especulação que aqui se desvela. Jazz de câmara imaculadamente livre, informado por tradições ancestrais (asiáticas, claro, mas também – por via da infância vivida pelo pianista entre Líbia, Camarões e Argélia – africanas) e pelas mais distintas escolas eruditas do último século e meio, fazendo eclodir um esplendoroso esquisso musical que almeja ser, a um tempo, introspetivo e romântico, diáfano e espectral, melífluo e fragmentado, intrincado e espartano, cerebral e ascético.

—————————————————————————————-

by ‘Jazzuv’ blog (in english): link

An abѕolυtelу brilliant dυet ѕeѕѕion from gioνanni di domenico and akira ѕakata! While уeѕ, a good majoritу of irυman iѕ improνiѕed, the two mυѕician ѕmoothlу create a beaυtifυl ѕoυndѕcape that thiѕ lυѕh and romantic. And itѕ ѕtandѕ oυt more than itѕ improνiѕed partѕ.

“уellow ѕand blowing from china” and “lotυѕ bloѕѕom in a old pond,” are both deeplу inνolνed nυmberѕ bυt the intricatelу place noteѕ bу di domenico ѕet a romantic path for liѕtener. Thiѕ rυn tangent to ѕakata’ѕ ѕprawling lineѕ and once blended together become bold and oυtrageoυѕ ѕtatementѕ of adνentυre.

On the freѕh and rampant “bυd i,” the dυo ѕhow a marνeloυѕ combination of noteѕ. Thiѕ piece felt reminiѕcent of ornette coleman with ѕakata rυnning υp the ѕcaleѕ at fυll-blaѕt. Di domenico following with great agilitу. “papirυma,” iѕ more a ѕpiritυal oυting between ѕakata υtiliᴢing hiѕ improνiѕed νocalѕ along ѕide di domenico’ѕ arpeggioѕ on the keуѕ. Eхciting and challenging moνementѕ and worth treaѕυring.

—————————————————————————————-

by Slava Gliožeris (JazzMusicArchives, in english): link

Japanese sax player Akira Sakata born near Hiroshima in 1945.After university studies in marine biology, he switched towards jazz artist’s career becoming a part of Japanese explosive free-jazz scene in late 60s.Akira still evidenced best time of this genre in Japan,but in fact since free jazz popularity declined drastically during seventies, he was late just a moment to become a star.From 1972 to 1979 he was a member of well-known Yosuke Yamashita Trio,in 80s he played with Last Exit; Bill Laswell became his albums producer (incl. “Fisherman’s.com” with former Miles Davis guitarist Pete Cosey). Still last decades of XX century weren’t all that productive and successful for Sakata.

During first decade Sakata became much more popular again, partially on wave of reborn interest to free improvisation in Europe. Here on “Iruman”(Japanese word of Portuguese origin,which came to Japan with Jesuits in 16 century and in original (“irmão”) meaning “brother”) Akira plays duo with twice younger Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico,his first duo with pianist ever. Giovanni Di Domenico grew up in Cameroon and plays free improvisations(more often) and classic compositions, sometimes African music-influenced.

Recorded in Tokyo,this album contains mostly free-improvised music,but of quite unusual kind.Sakata,who in his younger years has been known by quite explosive screaming sax attacks,is much subtle here. His playing is often meditative, philosophical and combines Japanese and European classic tradition (in moments he sounds similar to Jimmy Guiffre).Akira sings on few songs (instead of playing sax) as well, surprisingly his Japanese tradition-influenced vocalize fits well and adds lot of additional charm to whole music. Di Domenico plays very free form piano miniatures,but well-structured,tuneful and lyrical – listen to separate fragments often reminds European chamber piano recital,in moments warn,sometimes almost polished.

Probably looking as bag full of unrelated components on paper,all these elements mixed both together work surprisingly well. Album sounds quite easy-listenable,non-boring and attractive. Not all music is of the same level, there are some moments where happens almost nothing,but in whole “Iruman” is the album, interesting not only for fan of Akira Sakata or free improvisations.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Posh Scorch

Bildschirmfoto 2013-04-25 um 19.24.13

by “Freejazzblog”Martin Schray, Belgium (in english): link

Orre Records’ third release is a live performance by Nate Wooley (trumpet and amplifier), Daniele Martini (tenor sax), Giovanni Di Domenico (Fender Rhodes, electronics), Hugo Antunes (bass) and Chris Corsano (drums) at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels on May 27, 2012, the same place where Peter Brötzmann and Steve Noble have recorded their latest cooperation.

The most exciting aspect of this group is the clash of Wooley and Corsano, two of today’s most adventurous and interesting sound explorers (at least for me), with Giovanni Di Domenico’s blurred ethereal Fender Rhodes arpeggios. Di Domenico is a very versatile composer and musician, his trio album with Arve Henriksen and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and “Ghibli”, his duo with Alexandra Grimal, are excellent albums.

The first half of Posh Scorch’s A-side reminds of a crude bastard of early Pink Floyd, AMM, and the Miles Davis of the Get up with it era. Di Domenico’s electronics at the beginning are a precision weapon, punctuating the track like flickering flashes at night.

While Wooley’s trumpet floats through space like a distant echo of solar music with Martini’s drone-like sax as a constant counterpart, Di Domenico’s Fender Rhodes and Corsano’s extended drums try to give them even more flexibility. The psychedelic undercurrent allows all musicians to sink deeper into their music, where they can delve into a new and innovative world of atmosphere and texture before Di Domenico lets the whole thing die down, leaving Hugo Antunes alone for a short subtle solo which is then joined by Wooley – maybe the most intimate moment of the performance. The last part of Side A is pure, classic and wild free jazz in which Wooley and Martini can wrestle in front of a tight rhythm section.

Side B also starts very gloomy with a Corsano/Di Domenico duo where you can see what a spectacular drummer Corsano is. Then the band goes further into abstraction, constructing an intensely fragmented and ominous atmosphere that bring to mind the aforementioned psychedelic Miles Davis album, only that Corsano and Martini do their best to sabotage this impression with wild, free interspersions. The result is that the track is always growing and changing and defying expectations.

I came across this album by accident, my record dealer recommended it to me. So – thanks again, Ernst. It is a real gem.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Going I’

front_front

by Just Outside – Brian Olewnick, USA (in english): link

A double duo of two keyboards (Giovanni Di Domenico and Pak Yan Lau) and two percussionists (Joao Lobo and Matthieu Calleja). While I know I’m not the onl one out there with an abiding and unreasonable love of the sound of a distorted Fender Rhodes, I’m probably in smaller company with my long-term affection from that early ECM release from Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, “Ruta & Daitya” (the former’s last venture into electronics?). Going doubles down on the instrumentation while summoning up a similar post-Milesian spirit, with related rhythms and keyboard scurrying. It lacks the over-the-top funkiness of the earlier work (sometimes the beats are a bit leaden, as in “Fara”). An unfair standard to hold this quartet to in any case and on its own the music flows pretty well. Maybe, in a more contemporary vein, think of it as a variant on Radian or Trapist–enjoyable, lightly beat-driven music with imaginative, keyboard-oriented washes and distortion atop. A fun trip.

—————————————————————————————-

by Monsieur Delire, Canada (in french and english): link

La semaine dernière, j’ai chroniqué un très bon disque de Mulabanda, un groupe qui me faisait penser à Elephant9 et Supersilent. Je maintiens la comparaison avec Supersilent dans le cas de Going, un autre quatuor dont deux des membres font aussi partie de Mulabanda. L’alignement, cette fois, consiste en les claviéristes-électroniciens Giovanni Di Domenico et Pak Yan Lau, et les batteurs João Lobo et Mathieu Calleja. Mélange d’improvisation et de composition sur fond de polyrythmes, claviers aux effets très variés, parfois mélodiques, souvent texturaux. Si “Skal” montre des longueurs, “Nagpapatuloy” et “Mynd” sont fort efficaces et, de toute manière, ce premier opus en met plein les oreilles. Paru sur vinyle, comme le Mulabanda.
Last week I reviewed a very good record by Mulabanda, a band who reminded me of Elephant9 and Supersilent. I maintain the comparison with Supersilent in the case of Going, another quartet with two members also playing in Mulabanda. The line-up this tim is keyboardists/electronicians Giovanni Di Domenico and Pak Yan Lau, with drummers João Lobo and Mathieu Calleja. A blend of composition and free improvisation resting on a bed of polyrythms, with variously-effected keys that can sound both melodious and textural. “Skal” goes on for too long, but “Nagpapatuloy” and “Mynd” are strong tracks and, in any case, this debut LP has a lot to offer. —————————————————————————————-

by RifRaf magazine (BE, in french): link

Going. Comme Boeing. Comme Mulabanda. Tout là-bas, vers le trou noir. Opacité immédiate, décollage latent, il faut du temps et/ou un certain dégoût de la pop conven- tionnelle et/ou une propension à la transe pour rentrer dans ces deux pièces maîtresses. Ou bien l’envie d’en découdre avec autre chose, la volonté de creuser dans la niche, de connaître par les gouffres. Il convient donc d’abord de saluer Silent Water, nouveau label bruxellois qui sort ces deux références en vinyle numéroté (500 pour le premier / 444 pour le second), des disques qui impressionnent par leurs capacités à dégager une puissance inouïe sans jamais tomber dans la violence, la fureur ou l’explosion. Bidouillages électroniques, claviers triturés, malmenés, poussés à leurs limites, boucles opiacées saturent l’espace et convergent vers le même but : le grand trip urbain qui s’écoute à l’horizontal, dans les vapes. Une chevauchée sonique très noire, très ralentie, dronesque dans l’esprit qui pourrait autant séduire les amateurs des Liars que ceux de Mountains (le groupe de l’excellente écurie Thrill Jockey). Près de chez nous, on pense tout simplement aux inclassables South Of No North. Deux hommes-machines officient dans les deux groupes : Giovanni Di Domenico et Joao Lobo, respectivement aux claviers et à la batterie. Issus du même ADN, Going et Mulabanda n’en ont pas moins leurs propres singularités. Le premier avec ses deux claviéristes et ses deux batteurs crée un groove désarticulé, saturé, répétitif. Le deuxième avec l’ajout d’un saxophone constamment distordu frôle par moment le bruitisme pur (face B). Ecouté au bon moment, avec les expédients idoines, ça peut être une belle claque. (lg)

—————————————————————————————-

by Jurgen Boel, Enola zine (in dutch): link

Dat de klassieke rockformatie gitaar-bas-drum al lang niet meer zaligmakend is, behoeft geen verdere commentaar. De talloze groepen die net in uitgebreidere of minimalere bezetting werken zijn niet te tellen, al blijven ook hier bepaalde combinaties de voorkeur genieten boven andere. Het geeft echter geen keer zich hierop blind te staren, want zonder goede songs is zelfs de meest exotische samenstelling niet meer dan een mislukt experiment.

Wat dat betreft, hoeft het Belgische Going zich vooralsnog geen zorgen te maken. Want ook al trekt de groep in de eerste plaats de aandacht door zijn ongewone bezetting van twee drummers en twee pianisten/orgel- en keyboardspelers, het zijn wel degelijk de songs zelf die de bands debuutplaat I meerdere luisterbeurten ontlokt. Uiteraard brengt de aparte samenstelling bepaalde keurslijven en beperkingen met zich mee (hier geen vlotte popsongs), al biedt het net zo goed kansen en mogelijkheden die andere groepen niet hebben of zien (wie zichzelf beperkt, dwingt zichzelf immers ook creatief te zijn). En ook al wordt het experiment op dit debuut nog voorzichtig en behoedzaam aangepakt, de meerwaarde is wel degelijk aanwezig.

”Iri” start veelbelovend met rommelende geluiden die overgaan in heldere bellen die overstag gaan wanneer niet alleen nieuwe orgelklanken zich aanbieden, maar ook de drums een solide basis neerleggen. Echo’s naar obscure jaren tachtig horror- en sc-fi-flicks zijn nooit ver weg, met een speciale vermelding voor John Carpenter uiteraard. Vreemd genoeg laten de nochtans geschoolde muzikanten enkele malen op een storende manier het ritme vallen (doelbewust ongetwijfeld) en dat dreigt de vaart van het nummer te verbreken. Het is een kleine smet op een song die zich in zijn tweede helft evenzeer weet te bewijzen door opnieuw voor tegendraadse ritmes te kiezen die ditmaal wel passen binnen de zee van geluiden.

Nu de toon gezet is, kan er moeiteloos overgeschakeld worden naar “Mynd”, een op tribaal echoënde beats voortbordurend nummer dat de keyboards/orgel de teugels laat vieren in een dronken wals. “Pral” heeft — nog meer dan de vorige songs — een duidelijke voorkeur voor een afgemeten ritme waarboven de vrije klanken van keyboards en aanverwanten zweven kunnen. De onderhuidse dreiging die in het bijzonder van de drums uitstraalt, vindt een “partner in crime” in de keyboards die opteren voor een glazen geluid. Van een geheel andere orde is het “afsluitende” (van de eerste plaathelft wel te verstaan) “Fara” dat zich als een nukkige motor op gang trekt en met een gestage, trage gang verder sleept. Het contrast tussen de “slome” drums en speelse orgels weet helaas niet over de hele lijn te overtuigen, al blijft het doel van de band wel herkenbaar.

De tweede plaathelft opent met het knappe “Nagpapatuloy” dat zich duidelijk fan verklaart van de kosmische jaren zeventig en via het toetsenwerk zowel lome baslijnen als buitenruimtelijke melodielijnen. De standvastige beats zorgen zowel voor een houvast als een tegendraads antwoord dat zich bij een te bewuste beluistering opdringt, maar zich binnen een totaalervaring uitstekend van zijn taak kwijt. Het korte, dreigend slepende “Ag Dul” houdt het bij louter keyboards en vormt de perfecte brug naar het uitbundigere “Skal” dat de drums “vrije loop” laat en zich van een meer jazzy kant toont . Het is de enige song waarin de drums echt op de voorgrond treden en de nochtans energieke keyboards naar het achterplan weten te dwingen. Opvallend genoeg is het ook het enige nummer waarin de meerwaarde van twee drummers pas echt uitgespeeld wordt en de band voluit zichzelf durft te zijn.

I is duidelijk schatplichtig aan de jaren zeventig met in het bijzonder kosmische muziek en oude horror- en science fictionsoundtracks, zij het dat Going minder rechtstreeks dan pakweg Köhn naar het tijdperk en genre knipoogt. Toch weet de groep zich te weinig uit een opgelegd keurslijf te wringen waardoor het potentieel van de bezetting slechts in “Skal” echt tot zijn recht komt. I is daardoor geen plaat geworden die een zelfbewuste beluistering voluit doorstaat, al is dat laatste niet vreemd aan het genre op zich. Wie evenwel bereid is mee te gaan in de atmosfeer die Going creëert, kan in het album een wonderbaarlijke trip vinden die bovenal laat horen waartoe de groep in staat is, op voorwaarde dat hij echt bereid is de teugels te laten vieren.

I is uitgebracht op 500 exemplaren en kan onder meer via de website van het label besteld worden.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali (in italian): link

Il nome scelto da questo gruppo non è probabilmente casuale: Going potrebbe essere una parafrasi di Gong, il famoso gruppo di Canterbury con cui forse condivide alcuni riferimenti: se Gong sta per l’inizio di un procedimento o di un movimento, Going indica un avanzamento in corso continuo. E la musica ne dovrebbe rispecchiare le prerogative. Qui i synths emuli del progressismo musicale inglese degli anni settanta si uniscono al beat implacabile del duemila: atmosfere che stanno in mezzo al guado tra creazione della trama e reazione sonica. I partecipanti al quartetto, oltre a Di Domenico, sono la tastierista belga dai natali a Honk Kong, Pak Yan Lau, e i due percussionisti, il portoghese Joao Lobo e il francese Matthieu Calleja. L’obiettivo è quello di raggiungere un ragguardevole risultato d’avanguardia tramite una scrittura ampia che comprende anche una serie di rumori/suoni campionati e selezionati al fine di dare un immagine non fredda dell’elettronica combinata con gli strumenti ed aderente all’espressione del gruppo.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Lift Your Toes’:

MULABANDA FINAL HWC

by Just Outside – Brian Olewnick, USA (in english): link

Another Di Domenico project, again with Lobo in two, along with Daniele Martini (saxophone, percussion) and Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva (electric bass, electronics, percussion). Miles circa “Bitches Brew” once again hovers over the proceedings on the first of two tracks, with the warped Rhodes and the snare beats; generally, it’s in the same area as the Going recording. Side 2 ventures into entirely different territory, percussion and electronics to the four, constructing odd and intricate rhythmic patterns offset against squalls of harsh noise. It eventually settles into a sizzling kind of industrial area, conjuring images of arc wielding. Somehow, I’m recalling FM Einheit. Interesting track, though, coursing through some unusual areas. Those interested in variations of this order of jazz funk will enjoy.

—————————————————————————————-

by Monsieur Delire, Canada (in french and english: link

Wow. Ma première rencontre avec Mulabanda, un groupe italien composé de Giovanni Di Domenico (claviers, élec.), Daniele Martini (saxo), Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva (basse, élec.) et João Lobo (perc.). Un vinyle composé de deux improvisations sans titre. La première rappelle Elephant9 ou Supersilent – le travail de Di Domenico est saisissant, il semble partout à la fois, ses sons de claviers sont en mutation perpétuelle. La deuxième pièce est plus bruitiste et s’étend un peu en longueur, mais demeure intéressante. Très convaincant dans l’ensemble.
Wow. My first meeting with Mulabanda, an Italian quartet consisting of Giovanni Di Domenico (keys, elec.), Daniele Martini (sax), Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva (bass, elec.), and João Lobo (perc.). An LP consisting of two side-long untitled improvisations. Side A is reminiscent of Elephant9 and Supersilent – Di Domenico’s work is striking, he seems to be everywhere at once, his keyboard sounds perpetually mutating. The second track is noisier and stretches out a bit too long, but it is still an impressive piece of work. Very convincing as a whole.
—————————————————————————————-

by RifRaf magazine (BE, in french): link

Going. Comme Boeing. Comme Mulabanda. Tout là-bas, vers le trou noir. Opacité immédiate, décollage latent, il faut du temps et/ou un certain dégoût de la pop conven- tionnelle et/ou une propension à la transe pour rentrer dans ces deux pièces maîtresses. Ou bien l’envie d’en découdre avec autre chose, la volonté de creuser dans la niche, de connaître par les gouffres. Il convient donc d’abord de saluer Silent Water, nouveau label bruxellois qui sort ces deux références en vinyle numéroté (500 pour le premier / 444 pour le second), des disques qui impressionnent par leurs capacités à dégager une puissance inouïe sans jamais tomber dans la violence, la fureur ou l’explosion. Bidouillages électroniques, claviers triturés, malmenés, poussés à leurs limites, boucles opiacées saturent l’espace et convergent vers le même but : le grand trip urbain qui s’écoute à l’horizontal, dans les vapes. Une chevauchée sonique très noire, très ralentie, dronesque dans l’esprit qui pourrait autant séduire les amateurs des Liars que ceux de Mountains (le groupe de l’excellente écurie Thrill Jockey). Près de chez nous, on pense tout simplement aux inclassables South Of No North. Deux hommes-machines officient dans les deux groupes : Giovanni Di Domenico et Joao Lobo, respectivement aux claviers et à la batterie. Issus du même ADN, Going et Mulabanda n’en ont pas moins leurs propres singularités. Le premier avec ses deux claviéristes et ses deux batteurs crée un groove désarticulé, saturé, répétitif. Le deuxième avec l’ajout d’un saxophone constamment distordu frôle par moment le bruitisme pur (face B). Ecouté au bon moment, avec les expédients idoines, ça peut être une belle claque. (lg)

—————————————————————————————-

by The Holy Filament (in spanish): link

Con ánimos de expandir la oferta sonora, Mulabanda ha grabado su segunda obra bajo el título de Lift Your Toes, la cual verá la luz a comienzos de 2013. Diametralmente opuesta a su placa antecesora, en esta entrega nos encontramos con un resultado de desbordante ruido bajo una configuración de 2 tracks de largaduración.

El primer corte viene plasmado de percusiones que se funden en un manto de repeticiones en synth de similitudes sonoras en los primeros pasajes. Luego de brindar los primeros destellos de música no convencional y de características electrónicas, no tarda en entrar un muy bien trabajado segmento de noise que de extraña manera no genera un caos en la columna de la composición y da una personalidad muy fuerte y consecuente al track. Los intervalos de conexión entre espacios “fuertes” están en la mayoría de los casos cubiertos por detalles en la ejecución de las baterías.

El track complementario brinda impresiones industriales en su escucha macro a través de una extensa base de samples quebrados. La adición de baterías rítmicas y extensas vibraciones de bajo eléctrico al ser ejecutado con arco, dan un resultado pegadizo que invita al seguimiento del compás a través del movimiento de cabeza, impresionantemente envolvente y contagioso. La mutación del track es continua y de manera natural implica saltar de un estado alterado de noise hacia un frente de jazz/hip hop que corona de excelente forma esta sesión de experimentación no forzada.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali (in italian): link

Mulabanda è il progetto più sperimentale di Di Domenico (un’organico a quattro con Daniele Martini, sax e perc., Bruno Ferro Xavier Da Silva, basso elettrico, e il batterista Joao Lobo): due lunghe suites di circa diciannove minuti l’una che cercano di trovare un giusto equilibrio tra sonorità incarnate dalle macchine musicali e il benessere stabilito dalle risonanze. Un disco creativo dove la scoperta di nuove sorgenti di suono derivato è la prova di una capacità di organizzazione dei suoni che coinvolge anche i territori della musica concreta e dei fields recordings.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Sounds Good’

SR 1207 Sounds Good Front

by ‘le son du grisli’ blog (Luc Bouquet, in french): link

Au piano, Giovanni Di Domenico disperse les notes au gré des courants. Prêche une angoisse latente. Laisse s’épanouir l’espace. Etale la phrase. Aime à filtrer les mêmes sentiers. Frôle le sirop ECM. Emprunte la résonance à Monsieur Paul B. Déambule et, encore, étale. Consulte le drame. Censure sa main gauche. Racle le plus profond des fréquences graves. Retrouve l’angoisse originelle.

A la batterie, Oriol Roca martèle amoureusement ses fûts. Laisse la vibration se fendre jusqu’à terme. Emprunte la résonance à Monsieur Paul M. Convoque un tempo métronomique sur cymbale usée. Abuse le bol tibétain. Ce que font pianiste et batteur n’est pas nouveau, n’est pas révolutionnaire. Mais sensible : assurément.

 —————————————————————————————-

by Monsieur Delire, Canada (in french and english): link

Un court disque de jazz actuel piano-batterie entre Giovanni di Domenico (Going, Mulabanda) et Oriol Roca. Di Domenico est ici en mode purement acoustique – Roca aussi, d’ailleurs. Improvisation ou composition? Certainement un peu des deux – certains arrêts/départs sont trop bien coordonnés pour qu’il s’agisse uniquement d’improvisation libre. Les pièces sont courtes, délicates, souvent mélancoliques, sans s’apitoyer. Roca limite souvent son choix de percussions à quelques instruments simples dont il tire beaucoup de nuances. Sounds Good est un disque sans prétention, une rencontre fort convaincante.
A short record of piano/percussion avant-jazz between Giovanni di Domenico (Going, Mulabanda) and Oriol Roca. Di Domenico is here in acoustic mode – and so is Roca. Improvisation or composition? Surely a little of both – some stop/go moments are simply too well coordinated to be freely improvised. Pieces are short, delicate, often melancholic without getting sappy. Roca often restricts himself to a few percussion instruments and get the most nuances out of them.Sounds Good is an unpretentious and quite convincing meeting.
—————————————————————————————-
by ‘Tomajazz’ (in spanish): link
El baterista Oriol Roca no sólo está desarrollando una interesante carrera dentro de nuestro país en grupos como MUT Trío, o junto a Giulia Valle y David Mengual por citar algunos. También tiene un reconocimiento más allá de nuestras fronteras con grupos como VRAK’ Trio, la Piccola Orchestra Gagarin, o con el pianista Giovanni Di Domenico, tal y como ocurre en Sounds Good, publicada en 2012 en el sello belga Spocus Records. En esta grabación se incluyen siete improvisaciones, más dos temas compuestos por cada uno de los músicos. Roca y Di Domenico establecen una relación musical entre iguales. Esto no quiere decir que no haya momentos en que uno de los dos sea quien se erija en la voz cantante, sino que van cediendo ese papel cuando no están en un plano de igualdad. Los temas resultan sumamente variados. “Hermafrobeat” resulta muy animado. “Music Not Going Anywhere” es una de las joyas del CD: su título no es únicamente una declaración de intenciones, sino la mejor descripción que se puede hacer a la exploración sonora de ambos músicos. “Neve Marina” casi se podría calificar de música programática. “Song For Masha” es un precioso tema de Oriol Roca. En “Don’t Doubt Here Doubt There” ambos músicos dan una buena lección de cómo trabajar con la tensión musical. “Avoid A Void” es otro tema muy bonito con el piano goteando sus notas, mientras que “H.I.M.R.” es una composición de Di Domenico solemne, lírica, en la que el espacio y el silencio son elementos fundamentales.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali (in italian): link

Questa collaborazione con il batterista Oriol Roca sposta il suo baricentro su quelle movenze contemporanee che erano appena accennate in “Ghibli” e “Seminare Vento”. “Soundabout” vi introduce ad un clima quasi Ligetiano, per poi comunque rientrare in una “pensosità” espressiva coadiuvata da effetti percussivi che rendono il linguaggio sospensivo; in “Sounds good” trovate tutto il polistilismo di Giovanni: gli spazi atonali, la ricerca di un giusto equilibrio tra silenzio e note, le percussioni che si muovono sommessamente sullo sfondo, e, in quantità minori l’amebluement trasversale di Satie e le angolature di Monk; in “Avoid the void” si avvertono persino brevi scampoli di minimalismo; ma la cosa che colpisce è il validissimo tocco pianistico che segue canoni di raffinatezza che appartengono al mondo degli esecutori classici.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘Distare Sonanti’

cvr_didohentats_distare

by Nordische Musik (Ingo J. Biermann – in german): link

Ende der Neunziger Jahre gab es ein phänomenales Album jenseits von
Stilgrenzen (als diese noch schärfer gezogen waren als heute), von einem
internationalen Trio aus dem japanischen Trompeter Toshinori Kondo,
dem hyperaktiven Bassisten Bill Laswell und dem Elektronik- und
Beat-Spezialistien Eraldo Bernocchi. Knapp fünfzehn Jahre später ist deren
»Charged« nur noch wenigen Eingeweihten ein Begriff – überaus schade,
denn die CD hätte es verdient als Klassiker zwischen den Genres
anerkannt zu werden.

Im Mai 2010 trafen sich in Brüssel im Studio: der Italiener Giovanni Di
Domenico an Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synthesizern und Elektronik, der
japanische Schlaginstrumentalist Tasuhisa Yamamoto und der uns wohl
bekannte Arve Henriksen, wie gewohnt mit Trompeten und Elektronik.
Irgendwer scheint zwischendurch auch zu singen, doch ist niemandes
Stimme in den Angaben vermerkt. Veröffentlicht hat das Ergebnis dieser
Session der Klang- und Grafikkünstler Dale Lloyd auf seinem Kleinstlabel
either/OAR in Seattle; der zuvor unter anderem bereits ein Album vom
vage künstlerisch verwandten Duo Kim Myhr und Jim Denley
herausbrachte. Alles deutet also drauf hin, dass »DISTARE SONANTI« ein
ähnliches Schicksal ereilt wie einst »Charged«, zumal heute kaum noch
jemand CDs kauft.

Die beiden Trioalben haben neben der multinationalen Besetzung
allerdings auch die radikale Genre-Ignoranz gemein. (Und die beiden
Coverdesigns scheinen ebenfalls eine ähnliche Sprache gefunden zu
haben.) Di Domenico kann man mit seinen flippigen Improvisationen auf
den Tasten des Flügels oder der Fender Rhodes noch am ehesten die
Rolle des Leaders zuschreiben, obgleich seine Melodien dafür meist zu
wenig greifbar und einfach zu schnell sind. In den besten Momenten – und
es gibt derer viele auf diesem Album – spielt er sich mit den rasanten
Schlagzeug- und Percussionpassagen imposante improvisatorische Bälle
zu. Doch wer hier eigentlich was spielt, lässt sich streckenweise nur mit
mühsamer Analyse auseinanderhalten, und da die Energie dieses Trios so
fasziniert, bleibt dafür schlichtweg nie die Ruhe. Die ungezügelten
Rhythmen dürften gleichermaßen von allen dreien stammen, und auch
Henriksens Trompete nimmt hier selten eine tragende Rolle ein. Vielmehr
erinnert diese CD an Ensemblehöhepunkte mit Veslefrekk oder
Supersilent, wobei Di Domenico, Henriksen und Yamamoto als Trio vom
ersten Moment an eine ganz eigene, beeindruckende gemeinsame
Sprache gefunden haben.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Robert Wyatt and stuff“, Norway (in english): link

In 2010 we liked the album “Clinamen” with the trio Giovanni Di Domenico (keyb, electronics), Arve Henriksen (tp, electronics) and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto (dr, perc), and this blog post is just to tell you they are back.

It seems like “Distare Sonanti” was released as mp3s on Either/OAR in the autumn of 2012, and a CD was released this spring.

This album is just as fine as the previous one. Most of the tracks are group improvisations, and I still think we can say it is perfect for fans of Supersilent, and other people with good taste!

Fine musicians all of them of course, but a little extra star to drummer Yamamoto shouldn´t make anyone envious.

—————————————————————————————-

by Monsieur Delire, Canada (in french and english): link

Je poursuis mon exploration du catalogue du claviériste Giovanni Di Domenico avec ce très bel album en trio paru l’année dernière. Di Domenico y joue du piano, mais aussi du Rhodes, du synthé et des électroniques. Il est accompagné d’Arve Henriksen (Supersilent) à la trompette (et électroniques) et du batteur Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Stylistiquement, nous sommes à mi-chemin entre la délicatesse deSounds Good (avec Oriol Roca) et le côté avant-rock du groupe Going. Cinq des six pièces sont des compositions collectives (aussi bien dire des improvisations), et l’album se termine avec “Sensire” de Di Domenico. Du bonbon pour le fan de Supersilent que je suis. Beaucoup de finesse de la part des trois musiciens.
My continuing exploration of keyboardist Giovanni Di Domenico’s catalogue brings me to this gorgeous trio session released last year. Di Domenico plays piano (mostly), but also Rhodes, synth, and electronics. Arve Henriksen (Supersilent) on trumpet & electronics; Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums. Stylistically speaking, Distare Sonantiis halfway between the delicateness of Sounds Good (a duo session with Oriol Roca) and the avant-rock feel of the group Going. Five tracks out of six are collective improvisations, while the final piece, “Sensire,” is a Di Domenico composition. This CD is candy for the Supersilent fan that I am. Loads of finesse from all three musicians.

—————————————————————————————-

by Just Outside, Brian Olewnick (in english): link

Di Domenico (piano, Fender Rhodes, synths, electronics, editing), Henriksen (trumpets, electronics), Yamamoto (drums, percussion). Leaps into a post-60s Miles thing from the get go and attractively so, with Henriksen (from Supersilent) veering toward a much more Jon Hassell-like approach. It’s almost unfair using a Fender Rhodes–those of us of a certain age are cast directly back to the glory days of Corea and Jarrett with Miles. The trio play so solidly and impart just enough of a new spin on things that they manage to pull off what could easily have been a pastiche. Listeners familiar with and enamored of that tract between Miles of that period and Fourth World-era Hassell will find much to enjoy here. And that includes me.

—————————————————————————————-

by Percorsi Musicali (in italian): link

In “Distare sonanti” il trio sembra aver aumentato la dose di astrazione sonora: i brani si presentano come appuntamenti sensitivi, dei viaggi sonori in cui rientra lo spirito shakuhachi di Henriksen, con passaggi che rievocano strutture tipiche del jazz-rock davisiano definiti dal synth di Di Domenico che qui diventa il suo strumento dominante e con cui sviluppa in concreto una certa dose di effetti trasversali di elettronica che rendono inattendibile l’atmosfera complessiva. Satie (con qualche eco perduto nello spazio del Bolero di Ravel) si riaffaccia solo nel finale in “Sensire” che chiude questo nuovo contributo alle possibili ricostruzioni tra elementi e generi differenti.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘CLINAMEN‘:

by the milk factory: link

Assembled and led by Italian-born pianist and keyboard player Giovanni Di Domenico, and counting trumpeter extraordinaire Arve Henriksen and drummer and percussionist Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, this is a trio with a very uncompromising experimental outlook. The wealth of experience brought under this project is staggering. Perhaps the best known of the three, Henriksen needs no introduction, his solo work and his involvement, past and present, with Supersilent, Christian Wallumrød’s various formations, Food or the Trygve Seim Ensemble have contributed to make him one of the most prominent musicians of the contemporary Scandinavian jazz scene. Almost ten years his junior, Di Domenico is also an well established instrumentalist with an impressive number of collaborations under his belt, while Yamamoto regularly performs with Jim O’Rourke and has, in the past, worked with members of AcidMotherTemple and Boredoms amongst others. The album take its name from a concept defined by roman poet and philosopher Lucretius relating to the unpredictable swerve atoms make when falling down and the resulting collisions with other atoms to create energy. The part of the idea which relates particularly to the record is the chance factor which determines these swerves and collisions. Chance indeed seems to play an important role here as the trio size each other, evaluate their position within the formation, and react to each other’s input. While it is not specified in which order these compositions were developed and recorded, there appear to be an increased level of fluidity as the album progresses. In its early stages, the music is extremely fragmented and angular. Di Domenico’s keyboards and electronics are regularly punctured by Yamamoto’s drumming, sparse and abstract at first (Hyrje, Aide), growing meatier and more complex on pieces such as Mask That Eats Water and Idiot Glee or more intricate and textured on Nakizumi or Fanno Il Deserto E Lo Chiamano Pace. Di Domenico, armed with piano, Fender Rhodes and synths, deploys a panoply of rhythmic motifs often baring heavy traces of abstraction (Aide, Idiot Glee), austere segments (Hyrje, Silence, Mask) and beautiful airy touches (Clinamen), tempered with electronics, which are scattered throughout, often in discreet touches, all serving the main tonal direction which the other two follow and build upon. Henriksen is first noted here for the characteristic vocal abstractions he has developed, on Hyrje and later on Vatos and Clinamen, before his trumpet does the talking for him, from the incredibly gossamer textures he devises on Silence Is Twice As Fast Backward to the more clearly defined phrases on Aether Talk (For Joao) or Fanno. Clinamen is a record which requires quite a level of involvement from the listener to begin reveal its many facets. At times arid and seemingly impenetrable, it tests the patience, but persistence is the key and the reward is well worth the effort, as when it eventually opens up, it is to reveal a fascinating universe where there aren’t any straight line and nothing that works really should.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Monsieur Delire” (in french and english): link

Une très belle collaboration entre le pianiste Di Domenico, le trompettiste Henriksen (de Supersilent) et le batteur Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Henriksen chante un peu aussi, particulièrement dans “Vatos”, splendide de beauté fragile. Cette fragilité élevée au rang d’art est notable ailleurs (dans “Clinamen” entre autres), mais on trouve aussi sur ce disque des improvisations aux rythmes appuyés qui rappellent Supersilent (période 5 ou 6), justement. Dix pièces courtes, un disque audacieux mais accessible, certainement plus accessible que les derniers efforts de Supersilent. Recommandé.

A very fine collaboration between pianist Di Domenico, trumpeter Henriksen (of Supersilent) and drummer Tasuhisa Yamamoto). Henriksen also sings a little, especially in “Vatos”, gorgeously fragile. This fragility turned into art is found elsewhere (in “Clinamen” among other tracks), but some cuts on this CD feature rhythm-driven improvisations reminiscent of Supersilent (circa 5 and 6). Ten short tracks, a bold yet accessible record, surely more accessible than Supersilent’s latest efforts. Recommended.

—————————————————————————————–

by “Subjectivisten (in dutch): link

Het gaat natuurlijk niet altijd op dat als je een paar grootse artiesten bij elkaar zet, dat er ook iets groots uit voortkomt. Dat is bij voetbal of wat dan ook niet anders. Maar als je het drietal Giovanni Di Domenico, Arve Henriksen en Tatsuhisa Yamamoto opstelt dan is succes verzekerd, zo zal blijken. Giovanni is een in Brussel wonende Italiaanse pianist/componist, die tevens de elektronica en Fender Rhodes ter hand neemt. Hij heeft met ontzettend veel uiteenlopende muzikanten gewerkt, uit even zoveel landen. Hij heeft ook doelbewust dit trio geformeerd om de grote kwaliteiten van de muzikanten. Hij streeft extreme kwaliteit na, iets dat bewonderenswaardig is in tijden van kwantiteit. De Noorse trompettist Arve Henriksen, die hier ook de zang voor zijn rekening neemt, heeft een ijzersterk spel in de vingers. Dat heeft hij op ontelbare albums zowel solo als met legio artiesten en groepen al laten horen. Food, David Sylvian, Motorpsycho, Veslefrekk en niet in de laatste plaats Supersilent hebben allemaal op zijn bijdragen mogen rekenen. De Japanse percussionist/drummer Tatsuhia Yamamoto is de jongste van het stel, maar heeft met zijn geweldige spel al veelvuldig gecollaboreerd met artiesten als Otomo Yoshihide, Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke, Sachiko M en Makoto Kawabata. Met O’Rourke toert hij momenteel. Nu komen ze in de eredivisie van de muziek samen, alwaar ze hun cd Clinamen presenteren. Ze maken een soort experimentele jazz, die neigt naar minimal music en soms zelfs ambient. Het mooie van het album is dat de afzonderlijke kwaliteiten van de artiesten belicht worden en dat de diverse composities toch één geheel vormen. In de muziek werken ze dan ook heel veel met ruimtes of noem het stiltes. Dat kunnen slechts fracties van seconden zijn, maar het geeft tot de verbeelding sprekende en zelf in te kleuren stukken in de muziek. Dat ruimtelijke effect maakt de muziek ook spannend, diepgravend en bovenal intrigerend. Het is de kunst van het weglaten en dat dan muzikaal omlijst door één van de beste teams ter wereld. Het prachtig ijle trompetspel van Arve, die ook op hoge en breekbare wijze zingt dan wel neuriet, de geweldige, onnavolgbare percussieklanken van Tatsuhisa en het virtuoze toetsenspel van Giovanni leveren hier samen een werkelijk hemelstrelend huzarenstukje op. Het is geen eredivisie meer, het is gewoon de champions league. Ze brengen een eigenzinnige mix van This Heat, Wim Mertens, Talk Talk, Jon Hassell, Nils Petter Molvær, Tortoise en Supersilent ten gehore. Meesterlijk album! door Jan Willem Broek

————————————————————————————

by “Boomkat: link

A brilliant trio recording from trumpeter/vocalist Arve Henriksen (star of several Rune Grammofon solo records and member of Supersilent), pianist/composer Giovanni Di Domenico and drummer/percussionist Tatsuhisa Yamamoto (who has previously worked with Jim O’Rourke, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M and Keiji Haino, among others). The music on this album tends to be very patient and spaciously performed for much of the time, and the three musicians spend the earliest parts of the album seemingly keeping a respectful distance from one another, tentatively locking phrases together over the course of ‘Aide’ and ‘Hyrje’ before working with a greater density of sound for ‘Mask That Eats Water’ and the off-kilter jazz of ‘Idiot Glee’. On these tracks the versatility and innovation of Yamamoto is especially apparent, although each player shines as the album progresses: ‘Vatos’ features some of Henriksen’s characteristic vocal abstractions, making the piece sound a little like Sigur Ros, and then there’s the quite superb ‘Silence Is Twice As Fast Backwards’, which is pinned together by a tense and shuddering piano line from Di Domenico. Excellent.

————————————————————————————–

by “Zumo en la nevera (in spanish and english): link

A menudo, me pregunto si de verdad existe una fuerza externa responsable del por qué de las cosas. En caso afirmativo, yo la llamaría destino. No obstante, el filósofo latino Lucrecio la llamó Clinamen. Esto es, la fuerza “magica” que hace que un átomo cambie de dirección durante su momiviento y que, al chocar con otros, sea capaz de crear la energía motriz de la vida. El Clinamen, pues, es un fenómeno causado por azar. Giovanni di Domenico (teclados, electrónica y edición), Arve Henriksen (viento, electrónica y voz) y Tatsuhisa Yamamto (percusión) parten de la teoría de Lucrecio para crear melodías y paisajes de sonido para, así, jugar con la esencia musical de cada uno de los tres componentes de este proyecto. El resultado es este pedazo de álbum editado en el sello belga Off Records el año pasado.

Sometimes, I wonder if there’s something that keeps life rolling on and determinates, in a way, what it’s going to happen or why things are just like they are. I believe that could be called destiny. Nevertheless, the Roman Philosoper Lucretius did name it Clinamen: the magic force that forces an atom to change direction during it’s fall and thus be able to hit others and create energy. Clinamen, then, it is a phenomenon caused by chance. Giovanni di Domenico (piano, keyboards, electronics & editing), Arve Henriksen (trumpets, vocals & electronics) and Tatsuhisa Yamamto (drums & percusions) take inspiration from Lucretius’s theory to build up melodies and sound-scapes, to play with the the soul of each and all of the 3 members involved in this musical project. The result is a superb 10-track album released on the Belgian label Off Records last year.

————————————————————————————–

by “Percorsi Musicali” (in italian): link

Le elaborazioni di “Clinamen” costruiscono un moderno compromesso tra il contrasto di atmosfere di Di Domenico e Henriksen: se per entrambi il punto di arrivo è l’arredamento di Satie, mentre Di Domenico proietta il suo “classicismo” a dosi, Henriksen impone la sua liricità. La perfetta integrazione di Di Domenico con Henriksen può essere ascoltata in “Silence is Twice as fast backwards“, dove al tipico fraseggio alla tromba del nordico, il pianista costruisce una lunga e solida base “ambientale”, volutamente dissonante e ripetitiva. Diventa in questo contesto più importante il fattore percussivo (Yamamoto) che riempie le pause e condiziona l’andamento “free”: “Mask that eats water” sembra Hassell accompagnato da un prospiciente batterista free jazz. E’ in questi albums che Giovanni fa uso anche del Fender Rhodes e del synth facendo ben attenzione a non cadere in stereotipi e allontanando lo spettro del “vintage” dell’organo sintetico: Giovanni lo riconsegna ad una visione attuale, seguito spesso da una tensione (anche ritmica) corroborata dai suoi due collaboratori.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on ‘SIYAHA EP’

hintanoi-siyaha

by “Touching Extremes” (Massimo Ricci, in english): link

Hintanoi is one of the various projects of Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico, in this case manifested via an EP lasting about 22 minutes. Even if classifiable in the ambit of drone/hypnosis-inducing music, Siyaha offers more than just that in its unblurred ripening. The introductory slice is that which mostly links an absorptive listener with the powers generated by the use of low frequencies, though not rigorously in untroubled fashion: after a while, in fact, the sonic matter begins to show a minimum of “restlessness underneath” through different kinds of synthetic gibbosity, culminating with a part with pseudo radio signals intruding on the cerebral perspective. This leads to a tantalizing conclusion based on gently insistent percussion: what sounds like small gongs or metal bowls is utilized to both stimulate and alleviate until the final fadeout. In today’s home-studio-with-altered-samples world, where every nonentity releases ten “records” per year calling themselves “composers” of electronica, this work shows welcome signs of moderation at least.

————————————————————————————–

by “Percorsi Musicali” (in italian): link

Hintanoi è il progetto “elettronico” di Giovanni immerso nel consueto sperimentare al drone delle nuove generazioni: sebbene la materia sia inflazionata e spesso i risultati non si distaccano da un noioso riporto all’infinito di singole note o accordi, “Siyaha” tira fuori un drone coriaceo che oltre ad avere una buona carica di attrattiva costruita sull’ipnotismo sonoro (frutto di alcune manipolazioni) evidenzia punti di collegamento con lo stile del pianista: dopo la parte centrale di “Siyaha”, quella in cui il drone si arrende di fronte ai rumori riorganizzati, in quella finale il suono ritorna a pulsare come cellule che vogliono farsi ascoltare.

————————-

————————-

————————-

praise on GHIBLI

by “New York Jazz Gazette”(Donald Elfman, in english)

Soprano saxophonist Alexandra Grimal and pianist Giovanni Di Domenico have come together to discover paths of expression that, like the koans which give titles to five of the nine numbers in this suite, make their meaning available through intuition or some kind of non-rational thinking. Grimal has traversed the areas of jazz and new music, always with an ear towards improvisation while Di Domenico has proven himself as a composer of meaningful scope. For Ghibli, the Arabic name for the Mediterranean wind often called the sirocco, DiDomenico has composed an eight-part suite whose openness and sense of space allow both musicians to create music that often feels very free. Even the tunes that seem to have a more pulsing rhythm are, somehow, quietly insistent. “Earworm”, for example, opens with a dense theme with many notes but still feels as if it’s quietly developing. DiDomenico takes the open solo and uses the lower part of the keyboard to provide a dark underpinning even as the music seems to be constantly opening out. Grimal’s entrance is subtle and goes almost unnoticed but it immediately complements the darkness of the piano and takes it to a number of places, some almost sprightly and bright, as it throbs to its opening theme. “Coldfinger” has a melody that suggests the impressionism of Debussy or Ravel but is also the most defined ‘jazz’ composition of anything in the set. The series of five koans make us forget that this music is composed, so seamless are the improvisations and written notes. Even when at high volume the musicians’ delicacy of tone and approach make them feel like whispers. The final piece, “Svanevejens Rundkorsel”, is written by Danish bassist Claus Kaarsgaard, a brief excursion well-suited to the capabilities of the two players. It’s a moody, beautiful ballad and it puts a quiet period at the close of the remarkable story that Di Domenico and Grimal have told.

————————————————————————————-

by “Freejazzblog (Stef Gijssels, in english): link

Usually I get the “Sans Bruit” releases by mail (thanks Stéphane), but I couldn’t wait, so I bought it right away once it became digitally available, because I am a fan of French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal, who we find back again with Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico, who composed most of the pieces of this album.

In their previous quartet effort – “Seminare Vento” –  on french label Free Lance, I mentioned that I would have loved a little less beaten track, and I must say they fully deliver the goods on this album. Both musicians can color deftly outside the lines and they do so on other albums, yet here their lyricism takes the spotlight, and how! Limiting the line-up to piano and soprano gives Di Domenico’s music more space and freedom, with less constraints of form, and the result is excellent.

Di Domenico’s compositions are very impressionistic and abstract at the same time, kind of open-ended at first listen, yet quite well-structured too. One illustration: “Earworm” starts with a long and meandering unison line between both musicians, then it’s dropped for what sounds like free improvisation, ranging between jazz, classical, with the sax adding some middle-eastern tonal changes, changing tempo, rhythm and mood, like a mini-suite, only to end all of a sudden again with the opening unison theme.

The music is lightfooted and playful, or sensitive and light. That several of the pieces are called “Koan”, the zen-buddhist paradox, gives you an idea of the importance of the surprise, the creative angle that you can expect.

Grimal’s tone is phenomenal, as I described in earlier reviews, yet Di Domenico gives her a unique opportunity to really shine : the intimate compositions and atmospheres that he creates form the wonderful context for Grimal’s superb playing, just listen to her solo intro on “Koan N° 3”.

This is as light and warm and deep as it gets.

The title “Ghibli” is the name of the wind that blows over the Lybian desert.

————————————————————————————-

by “Percorsi Musicali” (in italian): link

E’ certamente la versione più vicina ad un concetto di jazz inteso in senso tradizionale: “Ghibli” denota l’influenza di Monk  (“Coldfinger” è preziosa come un quadretto impressionista) e del Brubeck più discorsivo in ambiente cool che quindi si riaggancia a quel primo incontro tra modernismo pianistico dei primi anni del novecento e il jazz di Konitz, Giuffrè ed affini. Lontano dall’essere un’operazione ricontestualizzata nell’odierno, “Ghibli” (che è un vento estivo proveniente dall’Africa desertica, che personalmente conosco molto bene a causa della vicinanza geografica) è uno scrigno di sensazioni ed immagini, dove oltre al consueto eccellente timbro della Grimal, si scorge un pianista attentissimo nell’evitare ricadute troppo evidenti in situazioni pianistiche già esplorate, proponendosi come collante dell’improvvisazione in possesso anche di alcune movenze contemporanee.

————————————————————————————-

by “Le Nouvel Observateur” (in french)

Depuis quelques années, Alexandra Grimal traverse les différentes contrées du jazz avec un même bonheur, multipliant les rencontres comme autant d’occasions d’avancer en musique. Après un premier travail commun en quartet pour l’excellent Seminare vento paru chez Freelance en 2010, la voilà de nouveau associé à Giovanni di Domenico, cette fois pour un tête-à-tête subtil et inspiré autour d’un répertoire composé par le pianiste italien.

Tout au long de ce Ghibli, paru sur le label sans bruit, la musique navigue sur les lignes minérales des saxophones d’Alexandra Grimal qui viennent se poser et s’entremêler avec le piano du transalpin. Ce dialogue complexe s’avère malgré tout extrêmement fluide, et les échanges dénotent une entente en tout point remarquable. Ces deux-là parlent le même langage.

En découle une œuvre marquée par les deux personnalités mais portée par le souffle rafraîchissant de Grimal, dont la maîtrise du soprano est remarquable. Comme à chacune de ses manifestations, la jeune femme confirme un talent rare pour construire un monde musical qui lui est propre. A ses côtés, di Domenico se partage entre angularité et lignes ouvertes avec un toucher subtil qui sied parfaitement au jeu tout en nuances de la saxophoniste. Puisant son inspiration du côté de Monk ou de Paul Bley, le pianiste lui offre les relances, respirations et contrepoints qui viennent nourrir son inspiration. Voir les splendides « Ear Worm », anguleux et complexe, ou « Koan N°4 », intimiste et mystérieux. L’exercice est périlleux car sans filet, mais Ghibli est un moment hors du temps qui marque par la richesse du propos et la naturel avec lequel il est délivré. On est captivé par cette faculté de construire un discours qui pourrait être austère mais qui, en fin de compte, se révèle accueillant tant on prend plaisir à se laisser emporter, attentifs à chaque détail, note, souffle de l’histoire qui nous est contée. Ces deux musiciens sont exceptionnels, cet album en est la confirmation.

———————

———————

———————

praise on MULABANDA

by “The Holy Filament” (in spanish): link

En el año 2010 editaron su placa homónima y debut a través del sello QuintoQuarto, mostrando un sonido muy amplio y diverso que se ancla en la soltura del jazz contemporáneo. La placa consta de 11 cortes que brillan por la comodidad bajo la cual fueron concebidas a través de la fusión de elementos formales de tintes funk e intervenciones de carácter electrónico. Improvisación y ensamble de estructuras en sesión (sobre la marcha) son la base de Mulabanda y bajo esta idea no es extraño enfrentarse a pasajes cálidos, propios del Fender Rhodes en saltos sucesivos sobre el suelo ondulante construído por los bajos de Bruno X, ni tampoco a las escenas oxidadas decoradas por saxos disorcionados apoyados en atmósferas sintéticas. Sin dudas, un trabajo sólido, mayormente sereno  que radica en la cordura melódica instrumental haciendo caso omiso al prejuicio de un proyecto denominado experimental . Puedes escuchar el álbum completo y comprarlo a través del Bandcamp de Mulabanda.

—————————————————————————————-

by “Le Soir” (in french): link

Si vous détestez la main-mise de l’électronique sur la musique jazz, tendez vos oreilles vers d’autres CD. Vous qui êtes prêts aux expériences, écoutez cet album. Daniele Martini (sax), Giovanni Di Domenico (piano, electronics), Bruno Ferro Xavier Da Silva (basse, électronics) et Joao Lobo (drums) vous offrent une musique le plus souvent improvisée, aventureuse, atmosphérique parfois même mystique. A tenter.

———————

———————

———————

praise on TERRA CHE CAMMINA

by “Freejazzblog” (Stef Gijssels, in english): link

We know Belgian-based pianist Giovanni Di Domenico from his album with Tetterapadequ, and his recent collaboration with Alexandra Grimal, Seminare Vento. On this album, he is joined by John Ruocco on clarinet, Ananta Roosens on violin, Anja Naucler on cello, Claus Kaarsgaard on bass.

The music is slow, intimate, precise, and quite expressive. The album starts with solo piano, an eery melody, with sparse notes of the right hand repeating a bluesy phrase. Yet it starts for real with the second piece, with the strings offering a harmonic backdrop for lyrical free soloing by Ruocco. “MM” is possibly one of the strongest compositions, because of the stark contrast between the almost single chord hammering of the piano against the slow intense theme played by the strings, that start going their own way as a result of the piano going berserk, yet when the strings find back the theme, the piano is subdued, and tamed into sparse intimate notes.

Some pieces are short, and create a world in less than a minute, such as “Hombre”, others are quite expansive, like the long “Brainbow”, on which Kaarsgaard gets a three minute bass intro, full of restraint and wonderful pace-setting, before Di Domenico adds his minimalist piano touches to deepen the created atmosphere.

Di Domenico brings a total concept, with ambition and the result is excellent. Influences can be easily found in jazz as in African or Middle-Eastern music as in classical music, often combined, yet all very subtle and very much in its own stylistic universe of intimacy and closeness. And to their credit, the band does not shy away from some jokes or playful antagonism, as on “Sirr”. Jazz with strings is often overly sentimental or arrogant kitsch, yet this album develops its own kind of creative vision on the possibilities of the string ensemble in jazz. Recommended!

————————————————————————————-

by “Percorsi Musicali” (in italian): link

E’ risaputo che la maggior parte dei musicisti jazz prova la strada del chamber jazz a carriera inoltrata; Di Domenico in questo si dimostra musicista coraggioso e preparato, poichè da subito ha imbastito nell’àmbito dei suoi progetti anche uno che fosse molto proiettato nella musica classica. “Terra che cammina“, inciso con un quintetto in cui partecipano John Ruocco al clarinetto, e un trio d’archi (Antana Roosens, violino/Anja Naucler, violoncello/ Claus Kaarsgard, contrabb.), vive della capacità di intraprendere preziose canalizzazioni di suono multiplo che hanno tutte le caratteristiche dello stile di Di Domenico: qui Giovanni dimostra le sue qualità di compositore: un suono dinamicamente progressivo, assoli “sospensivi” in abito decadente-modernista (i sette minuti di “Amusia” sono di assoluto valore, ma anche il cluster minimale e centrale di “MM” si inserisce in una struttura piena di pathos narrativo) e il jazz che diventa un elemento della formula senza nessun predominio.

———————–

———————–

———————–

praise on AND THE MISSING ‘R’

by “Tomajazz” (in spanish): link

A veces intentarlo es suficiente. El mero hecho de arriesgarse es una recompensa y la búsqueda se convierte en el fin. And The Missing R, el CD que ha sacado el grupo Tetterapadequ recientemente en Clean Feed, es un alarde de búsqueda y de riesgo y, aunque haya momentos de gran irregularidad, la recompensa es real. Los miembros del cuarteto están muy compenetrados y se percibe en todo momento una gran atención a lo que ocurre a su alrededor por parte de todos ellos. Los cuatro jóvenes comenzaron a tocar juntos en el club De Pater (Holanda) y su nombre proviene de un acrónimo de “De Pater Quartet” al que le falta la “R” a la que se alude en el título del disco. Desde entonces, han desarrollado una música que debe casi tanto a la composición como a la improvisación y que transita por terrenos muy variados. No falta cierto sentido del humor, aunque la intención del cuarteto parece ser alcanzar un horizonte musical que signifique algo, o que tenga cierta trascendencia. Aunque presumimos que no hay un cerebro único detrás de la maquina, destacan inevitablemente el saxofonista Daniele Martini y el pianista Giovanni Di Domenico. Ambos tienen voces interesantes e inquietas, aunque pueden llegar a protagonizar pasajes un tanto exasperantes. Con todo, And The Missing R es una grabación estimulante en la que se descubren nuevos matices con cada escucha. Uno de esos discos raros sobre los que me siento incapaz de decidir lo bien que están. Eso si, de bien para arriba, y subiendo.

——————————————————————–

by “Allaboutjazz Italia” (in italian): link

Questo disco d’esordio della band italo-portoghese si distingue a partire dal fatto di essere pubblicato da una casa discografica che si è meritata in breve tempo fama e rispetto in Europa quanto negli Stati Uniti. I quattro si sono conosciuti durante lo studio al conservatorio de L’Aja, nei Paesi Bassi. La loro scelta di andare in studio appare meditata, rifiutando consapevolmente tutto quello che si impara di solito in termini di armonia e improvvisazione sugli standards.

Troviamo brani completamente improvvisati, che si svolgono per lo più lentamente, ricchi di fascino sia per il suono che per il modo in cui viene proposto l’ascolto delle interazioni fra gli strumenti. Sono momenti spesso brevi, onirici, dal sapore astratto, ma con un continuo dialogo di fondo e la voglia di comunicare insieme a tutti i costi. L’esperienza del free storico, data per scontata, a volte affiora prepotente, come in “Trucco billu billu,” altrove scompare per dare spazio a strutture che coagulano in brani dal senso sottile. Difficilmente si adoperano toni perentorii, anzi, ci sono anche i dodici minuti di “La virtù dei forti” dedicati al silenzio (per provare la pazienza dei tecnici del suono)? Nel complesso il disco si presenta compatto, alla ricerca di momenti in cui l’intensità della comunicazione avviene attraverso un’apparente levità, che oscilla fra forze centripete e centrifughe, in un equilibrio in continuo movimento. Un tipo di approccio che loro definiscono “confundismo”…

———————————————————————–

by “Freejazzblog” (Stef Gijssels, in english): link

This band’s curious name is a defective anagram of De Pater Quartet, referring to Muzikantencafé De Pater in The Hague, The Netherlands, a place which this band apparently likes a lot, and for which an “r” is missing, hence the title. There is nothing wrong with the music, though, quite on the contrary. The band consists of Belgian-Italian Daniele Martini on tenor sax, Belgian-Italian pianist Giovanni di Domenico, Portuguese bassist Gonçalo Almeida who resides in Rotterdam, and Portuguese drummer João Lobo. Whatever their origin, I must again congratulate Pedro Costa of Clean Feed for his unbelievable ear for good music, and for giving young musicians the chance to have their music released. The music of Tetterapadequ consists of 13 mostly short tracks of improvised music, mostly subdued, introverted and restrained, with the exception of the third track “Dopey”, which is a short drum solo. The four musicians create small creative aural environments, with scarce sounds, lots of empty space. Di Domenico’s piano usually sets the tone and the scene. Although some of the sounds come from extended techniques on the various instruments, the music is very accessible and intimate, between traditional jazz (there is even a short reference to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade) and modern classical music, with the other musicians taking the overall sound to a higher stage, creating depth and perspectives that are new and fresh. They are not afraid to push things to the limit, as on the last track, when the first four minutes are nothing but silence, then the bass starts playing softly, with the piano strings being plucked gently, then the drum joins sparingly, and only after eight minutes can the sax be heard, hesitatingly, sensitively, over a one note piano rhythm, yet gaining in power, gaining momentum, hypnotically, majestically, ending in a scream/cough/laugh. Nice music, very creative and subtle.

———————————————————————-

by “Signal to noise” (Stuart Broomer, in english)

Testing rather than jettisoning conventions, Tetterapadequ is a young European band that’s genuinely exploratory, willing to test approaches from a jazz-based rhythmic concentration to solo interludes and even a period of extended silence. It consists of two Italians (tenor saxophonist Daniele Martini and pianist Giovanni di Domenico) and two Portuguese (bassist Gonçalo Almeida and drummer João Lobo), but the key geographical point is the Netherlands. The band’s name is a near-anagram of De Patter Quartet, named for a favourite jazz club the quartet attended while students at a Dutch conservatory. Each is a player of substance, with Martini possessing a marked vocal force and rhythmic imagination and Di Domenico, showing a marked classicism that extends to Satie-like reflections. Almeida presses extended techniques while Lobo adds consistent interest with alternately dense and sparse sonic fields. Tetterapadequ’s eclectic wit suggests the Dutch scene in which they met, while the textures may recall the early work of Giorgio Gaslini, thanks largely to Di Domenico’s ironic classicism.

————————————————————————-

by “Temporary Fault” (Massimo Ricci, in english): link

A group formed by two Italians (tenor saxophonist Daniele Martini and pianist Giovanni Di Domenico) and a Portuguese rhythm section consisting of Gonçalo Almeida on double bass and João Lobo on drums, the name being an anagram – minus an “r”, hence the title – of a club named De Patter Quartet in The Hague, Holland, where the four conservatory students used to play together after the lessons. Where technical preparation of the musicians and instantaneous (and often ironic) creativity meet depends on the different circumstances that the music presents. Barely sketched ideas, adventurous sensitivity, a few grimaces and fully fledged compositions, the whole under a stylistic banner whose colours are mainly taken from jazz, but also from other kinds of immediate intuition, several moments characterized by intense silences and melancholic touches for good measure. Now tangentially intelligent, now more respectful of traditions, this record shows the artists’ will to do their best to maintain an optimistically untarnished approach to interplay; they sound dedicated, detached and having fun at once. The result is an extremely satisfying album, its moods and inclinations not in need to overwhelm the listener. Remarkable and, at the end of the day, successful in not giving us the chance of an accurate classification.

 

Advertisements