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Nicola Alesini / Pier Luigi Andreoni — Marco Polo (Volume II)
(Materiali Sonori MASO CD 90073, 1998, CD)
by Dean Suzuki, Published 1999-11-01
This second installment of Marco Polo by keyboardist / saxophonist Alesini and by keyboardist / percussionist Andreoni continues in the vein of their first. In general Alesini and Andrioni’s is moody, evocative, sumptuous and simply gorgeous. Working in a kind of activated ambient mode, they infuse their work with elements of exoticism, jazz, gothic music, something of the early 4AD aesthetic and more. If that is still a bit vague or too general, take note of the guest artists: Harold Budd, David Torn, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen, and Roger Eno, among others. These guys have great taste; even Eno’s contributions are good. He provides vocals in a faux medieval / Middle Eastern “Khanbaligh,” in a kind of organum style that is quite effective. Add some post-Hendrix guitar noises and gestures, along with exotic percussion and the rich keyboard bed, and you have an impressive piece of work. While the reed work tends to be the weakness herein, it is not always so. The almost free improvisation of “Tibet” fits in quite perfectly with Barbieri’s abstract but lovely keyboard work. The CD includes an inter-active multi-media track (including quicktime movies by Riccardo Sinigaglia, among others) that is clever, mysterious and very much in keeping with the spirit of the music.
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