Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Mask of Confidence — Mask of Confidence
(Moonjune MJR123, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2023-01-22
Mask of Confidence features several of the Moonjune regulars — Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto, and Fabio Trentini — in a new context. The core trio of the group is Trentini on bass along with Stefano Castagna (keyboards) and Jeff Collier (vocals, percussion); Reuter and Mastelotto are listed as guests; others involved are Giovanni Forestan and Angela Kinczly on woodwinds. As in Reuter’s Truce project, Trentini provides outstanding fretless bass work that will remind listeners of Mick Karn, and the addition of the woodwinds certainly harkens to some of Karn’s solo albums. But this is no mere nostalgia trip — it would still have merit if it was, given the quality of the material, but Mask of Confidence brings their own artistry to the table. Collier’s vocals are the focal point much of the time (when you can draw your attention away from the bass), and he’s got a wide stylistic range. Sometimes he’s like a David Sylvian crooner (“The Hunger”), at other times he’s more assertive (“You’re Gonna Make Me”), and there are some spoken passages as well. All of them are superbly done and suit the music that frames them — often spoken word is very distracting and can ruin the music, but Collier’s work on “A Postcard from a Future” is quite enjoyable. “2020 Vision” runs the gamut from snarling spoken lyrics to punkish screaming, and is the most intense performance on the album. From start to finish, Mask of Confidence just makes me smile and bob my head to the catchy grooves; I can’t find a fault on it anywhere, and recommend it highly.
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