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Accordo dei Contrari — Ur
(Cuneiform Rune 486, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-01-30

Ur Cover art

Over four years in development, Accordo dei Contrari’s latest effort has everything one would expect from the quartet on their anticipated trajectory, a blistering and aggressive maelstrom of melodic color, ferocity and complex polyrhythms, all spread across the album’s six tracks. The group is a quartet, as on their previous album, Violato Intatto from 2017, with keyboardist and composer Giovanni Parmaggiani as de-facto bandleader, guitarist Marco Marzo Maracas, alto saxophonist Stefano Radaelli (no baritone this time), with amazing drummer Cristian Franchi being the band’s rhythmic vortex, and while the band doesn’t have a regular bassist — the lower registers are handled mostly by the various keyboards, they do have an almost-fifth member in violinist Alessandro Bonetti, who plays on the first four of the album’s six tracks, including the angular and explorative title track where they are joined by guest-vocalist Patrizia Urbani for the wordless intro to the album’s eleven-minute centerpiece, building slowly and menacingly into a chaotic eruption after the four minute mark, when Urbani returns to duel with the sax and guitars. For a fair duration of the piece, Franchi and Marzo create busy loops of churning bedlam that propel the piece forward until Radaelli brings a strong melody to the chaos, then everything stops, and the piece starts all over again for the final segment. With “Così respirano gli incendi del tempo,” violin and guitar enter with all guns blazing in a way reminiscent of some of the pieces on Mahavishnu’s Inner Mounting Flame, though later drums and piano creating jagged patterns that might remind of “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters” from Birds of Fire, though Accordo accomplishes all of this in a very original way. Opener “Tergeste” plots violin and sax melodies over an evolving piano pattern for the first few minutes until Franchi brings the piece into a series of steady grooves that seem to be constantly evolving over the remainder of the track’s nine long minutes. The Crimsoid heaviness of "Più limpida e chiara di ogni impressione vissuta (pt. III)"  contrasts with several sparkling piano sections within the piece. Regardless of who is taking the lead at any given point anywhere across the six cuts, there are always surprises at every turn, making Ur one of the most engaging releases of 2021.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Accordo dei Contrari

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