Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


Ella Guru — Morbius
(Underground Records 003, 1997, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1997-05-01

Morbius Cover art

Ella Guru is an Italian octet consisting of guitar, alto sax, trombone, bass, keyboards, and three (count 'em) drummers. They follow the Rock-in-Opposition (aka RIO) path pretty closely, and play high-energy, challenging instrumental music throughout this 21-track album. The sax player (Massimo Semprini) and the trombone player (Gerard Antonio Coatti) make up a large part of their sound, switching between high-speed unison passages and avant-garde counterpoint. If I had to make a comparison, I would have to refer to both Curlew and Magma; the sax player definitely has a style similar to George Cartwright, and the overall instrumental weirdness recalls the zeuhl sound. The tracks included here are mostly short (under four minutes), going through rapid changes in a short amount of time. It turns out they are pretty deft when it comes to cover versions, too; check out their version of Mancini's "Pink Panther" and the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride."  Both start out like seemingly faithful versions, until the mid-song speed-jazz blasts come out of nowhere. The original pieces cover a lot of ground, too, alternating between RIO and zeuhl and hitting a few spot in between. The standout track, "No Angels," features a heavy guitar sound, and a fast tempo that recalls the best work of Virgil Moorefield.

Highly recommended to fans of the Cuneiform sound, especially fans of Curlew and George Cartwright. This is avant-jazz with quite a few surprises.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 12, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Ella Guru


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.