Light, bouncy, funky, mysterious, cosmopolitan, chill, ambientthe music on Antikythera, an album by Lorenzo Feliciati and Michele Rabbia is all of these things. The album has an urban vibe, albeit a slow-motion one , with none of the jarring effects and noise that often accompany city living.
Beyond handling the bass duties, Feliciati plays keyboards and electric guitar and adds dashes of samples and sounds. Rabbia handles the drums and adds his own electronics to the mix. And all the compositions were jointly written. On different numbers they are joined by trumpeter Cuong Vu, saxophonist Andy Sheppard, and keyboard players Rita Marcotulli and Alessandro Gwis. Together, the group creates sonic landscapes that are like the blue neon lights that greet visitors to dark city lounges peppered with end chairs and sofassubdued and ethereal. Both Feliciati and Rabbia keep subtlety in mind in their approach to the compositions. Sure, there are rumbles, eerie howls and distant whistles. But all of this is kept restrained as the beat remains the focus. Yet it is not a dominant beat. Rabbia for the most part is kept in the background, highlighting only the occasional snare snap or cymbal.
As the music evolves, the guest musicians emerge. For example, on "Teeth," which sounds like a slippery sledding experience, Sheppard offers some bright sax playing while Marcotulli uses back and forth piano chords to set things up. Or take the two numbers featuring Vu's trumpet"Prochronistic," where Vu provides a Miles Davis-like coolness or "Sidereal," where he gently slips in and out of the dance-like number like a butterfly might when approaching flowers for nectar. "Prochronistic" also features Marcotulli, who takes over with a beautiful solo that begins with the right hand issuing simple single notes before the left hand enters with bouncing chords low on the keys.
The album concludes with the short "Parapegma," a composition that suggests a caravan across some desert (you can hear a hint of Duke Ellington here, albeit slowed down to give it a very cool feeling). While Feliciati starts with a wispy melody on bass and guitar, he is joined by Marcotulli as Sheppard lays out some wispy tenor sax sounds.
Those that enjoy the mellow side of urban life, where nightclubs are chill and ambient as opposed to loud and raucous, will most certainly find kindred spirit in the music of Antikythera. Like an off-shore view of city lights with a constellation bright enough to be seen as a halo above, this album is best experienced with the lights down low.
Lorenzo Feliciati: electric fretted and fretless bass; keyboards, samples and soundesign, electric guitar; Michele Rabbia: drums and electronics; Cuong Vu: trumpet (4, 5); Andy Sheppard: sax (2, 8); Rita Marcotulli; acoustic and prepared piano (2, 5, 8); Alessandro Gwis: acoustic piano and Reaktor generated electronics (1, 6).