Drummer Francesca Remigi describes herself as a "polyhedric" percussionist, and a careful listen to her sophomore release, The Human Web, indicates that the adjective is entirely apt. Possessing not only impressive technique but also undeniably ambitious compositional abilities, Remigi's many-sided creativity is amply manifest on the eight far-ranging pieces on this endlessly surprising, and often stirring, album.
Remigi has broad conceptual interests here, with particular emphasis on social media's detrimental impact on self and society. It's a multifaceted topic, and to address it Remigi has harnessed the skills of a panoply of other musicians, utilized in a variety of configurations. Vocalists are present on several of the tracks, as are violinists: Marta Giulioni's wordless vocals and Anais Drago's violin lend crucial contributions to the spirited freedom of "Metamorfosi," with a swirl of complex rhythmic modes and plenty of room for expansive improvisation, as tenor saxophonist Andrew Saragossi and bass clarinetist Federico Calcagno add to the track's manic power. Synthesizers are also employed liberally: Killick Hinds brings disorienting electronic effects to the discomfiting "Trance," Remigi's comment on Cambridge Analytica's role in the 2016 US presidential election, and Livio Bartolo gets a chance to stretch out on guitar and electronics on "Inside the Algorithm," a rangy piece with fierce prog-rock overtones.
Following Remigi's muse can be a bit challenging at times, as the album covers so much ground, conceptually and stylistically. And the use of voice-overs on a couple of the tracks, particularly "Trance," may be of mixed appeal for some listeners, who will have to decide for themselves whether recorded excerpts from Donald Trump and other media personalities will limit the piece's replay-ability. But there is something marvelous about Remigi's gifts as a drummer, and she plays a critical role in giving the music its momentum: she brings a restless energy to her craft, sometimes with a heavy electronica influence, as on the fascinating "Mere Appearance & True Being," and at others with a hard-driving fusion sensibility ("The Human Web").
And then we have the three tracks on which Remigi lays out altogether, content to let her compositional skills do the talking. Most striking of the three is "Follia," a well-constructed piece of chamber jazz for bass, acoustic guitar and bass clarinet; it reveals convincingly that Remigi's talents extend far beyond her work behind the kit. She's an artist to follow, for sureand she's just getting started.
Metamorfosi; Lost Generation; Trance; Mere Appearance & True Being; Follia; The Human Web; Inside the Algorithm;
Title: The Human Web
| Year Released: 2022
| Record Label: Habitable Records
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