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Massimo Discepoli — Last Year, the Next Day
(Bandcamp DOF no#, 2021, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-10-09

Last Year, the Next Day Cover art

With a lengthy resume working in a variety of musical disciplines, Discepoli has been composing and releasing music, both under his own name as well as the project Nheap, since the early 2000s, as well as being involved in licensing music for short films, documentaries, and commercials. In 2014 he released the first album under his own name, Parallax, and in 2016 a collaboration with Daniel Barbiero, An Eclipse of Images. The album at hand Last Year, the Next Day is the follow-up to 2019’s The Right Place on the Wrong Map, though it does present somewhat of a departure from his previous works, not as purely ambient and minimalist, instead adding those structures that would be found more commonly in jazz, post-rock, and progressive to the forms he has already explored previously, still keeping his work purely instrumental. In addition to composing everything, Discepoli — nominally a percussionist — plays all the instruments here (drum kit, fretless bass, guitar, xylophone, tubular bels, kalimba, udu drum, steel tongue drum, darbuka, and electronics), and the results are nothing short of amazing. Eight tracks, mostly in the four to seven minute range, offer a variety of musical concepts with many different ideas coming to the fore, rich with melody, rhythm and unexpected turns. The opener, “Parallel Clouds,” showcases his jazzier side as ambient electronics mingle freely with tuned percussion and drums, the bass remaining slightly understated as the piece proceeds. “Cycle of Coincidences” is an odd cut, opening with what almost sounds a bit like an electronic banjo, followed in by a variety of percussion amid sweeping synth pads. “Layers of Echoes” presents some of the strongest melodies to be found herein, later clearing a swirling path for the udu drum and some explorative cyclical electronics that follow, then repeating the first idea with a more intense bass groove. “Remains of a Reflection” finds a more relaxed and minimalist mood, filled with curious sounds of all sorts as well as ambient electronics, the drums finding a gentle and jazzy groove. With all of its unusual sounds and textures, Last Year, the Next Day presents some very intriguing sonic ideas that should find a home with the discriminating listener.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Massimo Discepoli (Nheap)

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