London's F-IRE collective and label is a multi-coloured wonder, home without frontiers to a broad spectrum of innovative young British-based jazz-and-beyond talent including Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear, Ingrid Laubrock, Timeline, and Oriole. Electronica is increasingly being explored by F-IRE artists, but mainly in creative jazz contexts. This debut from the Ezzthetic quartet is a new strand: electro-acoustica with no particular connection to jazz, other than the quest for new sonic terrain.
Founded in Italy in '00, Ezzthetic is a collective in its own right: a group of DJs, musicians, electronicists, art world professionals, writers, actors, and cyber freaks who come together in various combinations to produce club, gallery, and theatre events. The connection with F-IRE came about because percussionist/frontman Maurizio Ravalico was based in London in the '90s, where he was the percussionist with Jamiroquai from '92-'94 and the James Taylor Quartet from '94-'99, was involved in numerous salsa and Cuban music projects, and set up Afroshock, with drummer Davide Giovannini, in '98.
For Ravalico, these sessions must represent a haven from those hotter and more wired playing contexts. Subtitled Noises For Gentle People, the 26-minute EP is built around three eight-minute tracks"Pacino," "Duetto," and "3T"featuring his congas and thumb piano on soft-hued, pastel canvases of realtime, MIDI-free, electronic soundscapes. Superficially, it's not unlike the ambient music that contemporary art galleries use as a mood enhancer: nuzak which seeks to erase urban clatter, but in which nothing much really happens.
Listen more attentively, and it's a micro world of delicate, incrementally evolving tones and textures. The almost geometric reconfigurations of the five congas on "3T," for instance, or the subtly shifting thumb piano motifs on "Duetto," are strangely absorbingonce you realise it's not stasis you're listening to, but finely detailed slo-mo.
Without being transcendental, and though it's modest in its ambitions, this is peaceful and centering music, and like the man might have said, you could try a little gentleness.
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