Osservatorio delle Terre Emerse (OTEME) — Il Giardino Disincantato
((Not on label) edd chair 1, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-01-14
This nine-piece ensemble led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Stefano Giannotti brings an abundance of ideas and influences to the table. One can hear a strong presence of folk, chamber and avant-garde ideas in the songcraft, with a lesser amount of jazz, rock and orchestral, embelished with beautiful multi-part vocal harmonies. Giannotti sings the lead parts, the lyrics in Italian (though English translations are provided in the booklet), while four additional members provide the supporting male and female vocal counterpoint, though four of the eleven cuts are entirely instrumental. Most of the nine players handle multiple instruments, including flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, piano, organ, synth, string harp, bass, drums, tympani, xylophone and other tuned orchestral percussion, and more. Most of Il Giardino Disincantato has a very gentle and ‘unplugged’ feel, with every measure meticulously composed; no loud drums, rock guitar or improvisation, although they do ‘rock’ at times, in a complex sort of way. At times what they do reminds me of Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme era Simon and Garfunkel or the folkier aspects of classic PFM, at other times one might be reminded of Uncle Meat era Zappa, Art Zoyd, or even Penguin Café, with a twist of full blown 20th century orchestral music. All taken, the inventive combination of compositions, harmonies and arrangements all make OTEME’s debut a very compelling listen.
Related artist(s): Osservatorio delle Terre Emerse (OTEME)
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