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Andrea Centazzo & Gianluigi Trovesi: Shock!!

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Not shocking, but wonderfully atmospheric. When the Mitteleuropa Orchesta broke up, two of its members joined forces for a series of concerts. Their rapport was great; Centazzo says they had 'the ability to reinvent on stage every night what was essentially a conversation between friends.' And they have plenty to say: while Andrea crashes, Trovesi hums, swoops, and decorates the evolving rhythm. It's a world of sound, a whirl of emotion ' and a shock to the system.

Andrea, persistent on tom-toms, brings us to the onset of 'Shock'. Trovesi, on slippery soprano, trills the nervy theme with hints of Steve Lacy. It then becomes a march: as cymbals form a mist, tiny notes peep from the sax, the chirps of a distant cricket. The beat returns, and Trovesi floats mournful notes with the touch of an oboe ' dignified, and profoundly sad. The 'nature' mood comes back, only more turbulent. A high bleat leads to deep rumbles, the bass drum gets frantic, and Trovesi more so. One final squawk at the end, bolstered by echo, and he creeps away in a fog of percussion. An electric moment.

'Cen.Tro.' is an eternity in four minutes. Life goes on at the dock: a bell tolls, a horse snorts, and the foghorn sounds. (Trovesi does both on a bass clarinet.) The bells turn more exotic, and now we hear gongs: the port is somewhere East. Colors drift and the sun slowly rises; nothing happens but the mood, and that is enough. 'Tro.Ce.' is a world away: Trovesi on a vigorous march, the strident notes proud but worried. It sounds like modern classical; the clarinet's quizzical notes fall on a bed of echo. Andrea takes to the blocks, and percussion trades with the quiet reed ' shades of Takemitsu. Now the gongs, and while Andrea goes wild, Trovesi stays dignified ' a wonderful contrast. Andrea is certainly a different drummer, and I'm marching next to Gianluigi!

'Shockmaker' is frantic, Trovesi on what sounds like amplified alto. As Andrea goes strong, his partner erupts: greasy lines of blurred notes, some late-night struttin' and an aggression we didn't know he had. The closest thing here to straight jazz, and a wonderful dose of fury. 'Day in Tunisia' has a walking marimba, and a line close to Ravel's 'Bolero'. It's bass clarinet with th stance of a baritone sax; he answers himself with dubbed clarinet, high and peaceful. Mist rolls in as several basses make a bagpipe drone, joined by gongs. It's the harbor sound of 'Cen.Tro.', only louder. Andrea's solo takes a lot of bells, intermittent drums, and layered shimmers ' intense, but calm. The parts are disparate, but it works as a whole ' like the group itself.

When recording was done, the musicians left the studio and were startled to find themselves in a blinding snowstorm. (They ended up having to walk home.) So wrapped in their music, the men lost all contact with the outside world. Hearing this, toy can see why: between thunders and whispers, the intricate lines and earthy moods, they create their own environment. And you'll feel right at home.


Title: Shock!! | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: New Tone


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