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Sergio Altamura - Aria Meccanica

Aria Meccanica

Sergio Altamura

CandyRat Records - 4701458152

Available from CandyRat Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

With this release, the CandyRat label takes an even more definedly neoclassical turn towards the progressive camp than is its wont. Sergio Altamura has fused a chamber approach with electroacoustic notions and languid Baltic / Mediterranean strains resulting in a deeply pensive release mirroring and advancing any number of cutting edge guitarists and their subtlest creations. Most notable will be the recognition during the disc's opening ("Welcome") of the landmark Fripp and Eno experiments circa No Pussyfooting, but that's just the start.

One also discerns evidences of Peter Green's Oh Well / End of the Game masterpieces, Durutti Column's strange unaffected refrains, Ralph Towner's Byzantine sculptures, Bill Connors' gently primordial ECM musiques noir, and no end of farflung influences of kindredly neoclassical thought patterns…even David Hykes (Flipper Special - Part 2). To achieve the atmospheres he crafts, which often are mindful of sections of Andres Georgiou's work (here), the guy employs loops and live processing.

When briefly reviewing for the E/I and Signal to Noise print magazines (short tenures and a long story, but suffice it to say a-hole editors may be correctly posited), I ran across a decent amount of electro-acoustic work, some quite good, much of it shlaga, the latter mainly wrought because the composer was slothful and empty of any hint whatsoever of where to go once a milieu was stated (they shoulda been listening to more Xenakis). Altamura knows precisely what abstractions, gestures, pronunciamenta, and colorations are for and wastes no time contextualizing them. Thus, like Georgiou, he achieves levels rare and piquancies heady.

No, those aren't violins you'll be hearing in Arkestra but rather the development of what's possible in the interface of instrument and outboards. Fripp disclosed the procedure in different manner during Evening Star, from the LP of the same name, but it's remained a sadly neglected side avenue. More than one connoissieur will be very happy to hear the like again. Also expect quite broad tinges of Tibbets (esp. Northern Song), Hedges, Ackerman (Will, in fact, produced Altamura's 2004 release; Aria Meccanica is his fifth either solo or in collaboration), even Tarrega. And CandyRat continues to prove itself one of the world's up and coming top labels for its impeccable taste, Olympian attention to production, and refusal to settle for anything less than a musician's absolute best.

Track List:

  • Welcome
  • Final Blu
  • Aria Meccanica
  • Dancing Trees
  • Down Roma Traffic
  • Conversations
  • Arkestra
  • Flipper Special - Part 1
  • Flipper Special - Part 2
  • Naked
  • Dragonfly
  • Blue Lights
  • Goodbye
All songs written by Sergio Altamura.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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