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Satelliti: Transister (2014)

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Satelliti: Transister How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Marco Dalle Luche and Andrea Polato are Satelliti, a keyboards and drums duo from Bolzano in northern Italy. The pair started jamming together in 2010: Transister is their impressive second album, a mature and enjoyable collection of original tunes.

The Satelliti sound combines one of the earliest musical instruments, the drum, with one of the most recent—the electronic wizardry of Dalle Luche's keyboards would to a large extent have been impossible only a few decades ago. Old and new, acoustic and electric, combine to create a sound that draws from traditional call-and-response structures, early electronic rock from the likes of Can and Suicide and the best of the jazz fusion era.

The result has an organic, emotive, feel that is too often missing from jazz' own flirtations with electronic music. Dalle Luche's opening to the hypnotic "Canada" has a surprising emotional power while the combination of soft-toned percussion and gentle electronica on "Little Sister" gives that tune a calm beauty. Even "Young Wolf"—whose piledriving drums and fast-paced electronic pulse give it a tough, powerful, core—has its softer moments thanks to Dalle Luche's keyboard flourishes.

"Brother Green" and "Esprit De Corps" are meandering tunes, less frenetic than the rest of the album, but also less engaging. "Brother Green" ends with a short spoken-word piece, a surprise that seems out of keeping with the overall sound and mood of the album.

The drive and pace return on "Bright Tunnel." It rattles along, Dalle Luche's urgent, keyboards seemingly dashing for the light at the tunnel's end as Polato's drums strive to keep control. At over 10 minutes long it's the most ambitious tune of the lot—but its repetitive groove and relentless forward motion hold the attention throughout. It seems to end too soon.

Track Listing: Voltage; Canada; Young Wolf; Brother Green; Esprit De Corps; Bright Tunnel; Little Princess; Transister.

Personnel: Marco Dalle Luche: keyboards; Andrea Polato: drums; Ed Laurie: vocal (4).

Record Label: Cuckundoo Records


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