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Massimo Discepoli — An Unusual Way to Disappear
(Bandcamp DOF no#, 2022, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-01-01

An Unusual Way to Disappear Cover art

Discepoli is best known as a drummer, but from his beginnings as part of a jazz fusion trio, he immediately started expanding his horizons as a multi-instrumentalist, studying piano, bass, guitar, and electronics, which led to his Nheap project, embodying a fusion of ambient, jazz, post-rock and electronics; he also works in several other groups and configurations from experimental to jazz to rock to electronic club music (Nunun, LED Trio, Nheap XP, others). In 2014 he founded the DOF (Depth of Field) label, specializing in electro-acoustic and experimental music, on which he has released four albums to date under his own name, the latest of which is An Unusual Way to Disappear. The nine tracks on the album are composed from loops of varying lengths, created from synths, electric piano, perhaps guitars and bass, and drums, the loops intersecting in different ways and times as they proceed, creating gentle, flowing melodic fragments and rhythms that are easy on the ears yet extremely interesting. Opener “The Next Veil” typifies this compositional style, building up from multiple layers of synths looping over one another, with the drums keeping the cadence in a jazz style. The title track follows, a melodic path that is at once sparkling yet slightly blurred, creating an ambient sensibility, the melodies seemingly built from gongs or bell sounds, not unlike gamelan though much softer, with the drums churning quietly in the background of the piece, like the soundtrack to a dream. Speaking of which, “Glimpses of a Dream” overlays ribbons of synthesized sound for a couple minutes until the drums and percussives enter the picture, again creating that churning quality that is at once mystical and immersive. “Shrinking Details” presents a robust yet crystalline bell-like melody that is at once hypnotic and surreal, to which the drums make a slow and gentle entrance, while “Curtains of Sleep” offers a number of crossing synthetic melodic layers with a bolder, yet seemingly random drum figure. Each of the nine compositions finds its own unique character within a general framework of intersecting looping structures, something that will bring the listener back again and again.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Massimo Discepoli (Nheap)

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