This septet ranges a broad midground between Zappa, Minimum Vital, Groon-era King Crimson, Magma, Weather Report, and a very appreciable infusion of Balkan folk musics not all that different from the influences felt by Stilo (here) and Fishtank Ensemble (here). What may be surprising are the occasional interpolations of Osibisa, Mandrill, and the 70s African fusion sounds shown in "Caldo Bagno" which then leap into a propulsive jazzrock fusion led by guitarist Marcello Giannini. However, all that only serves to warn the listener to expect anything as this group dances all around the melodic and improv content of each cut.
Hubris bubbles with zest and speedchops but also boasts many intriguing side pensees (Mangiare flows over with them) as well as twisted nuances bent to dice up the tempo, injecting cubist tangs and stutter steps where desired. The seven members work together like an elasticized small orchestra that's quite thoroughly figured where each member's brainworks exist, butting one up against the other for harmonic singularities and confluences. Ludovica Manzo's melismata provide silky-smooth latinate flavors and mellifluity, the sort of element Flora Purim, Urszula Dudziak, Kenia, Basia, and others trotted out for aesthetic consumption but a mode which has never been as fully adopted as should be. Ms. Manzo, then, is helping fill the gap.
Most of the disc's songs allow for generous development (note the times below) and circuitous recontextualizations that inevitably enhance the themes and their variations. Every minute of this long CD, though, is an exercise of confident and expansive musicianship bent on keeping the fusion tradition not only alive but constantly fresh, and the MoonJune label itself is one of the very few labels making constant and top-notch contributions to the sub-genre. In a time when the art environment is either hideously corporate or hopelessly fractionated as a result of rebellion against the soulless business-stamp-pressing of "creativity", the imprint provides a haven for intelligent musicians refusing to compromise vision and integrity for ducats and indiscriminate public acceptance. The result, as we might guess and hope, yields gold.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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