Exposé Online banner

OTEME — Un Saluto alle Nuvole
(Ma.Ra.Cash Records no#, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-08-24

Un Saluto alle Nuvole Cover art

Osservatorio delle Terre Emerse, or OTEME for short, is a most interesting musical collective, formed around 2010 by musical director Stefano Giannotti, creating a juxtaposition of rock and jazz songwriting and spoken dialogs around a core of vocals and chamber music. Un Saluto alle Nuvole translates to “Say Hello to the Clouds,” not a happy subject, but instead a concept album about death and passing, a firstperson observation told by those who take care of terminally ill patients every day at the Hospice of San Cataldo in Lucca, Italy: the families, nurses, healthcare assistants and doctors. Their testimonies became the spoken word parts that introduce the songs and separate the chamber music vignettes across the thirteen tracks that make up this, the group’s fourth full length release. The spoken parts here are all in Italian, but the musical elements are universal, featuring a relatively large group of nine regular members (including Giannotti) plus four additional members on vocals, vibraphone, and violin. The nine main players cover flute, piccolo, recorder, clarinet, bass clarinet, acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, electric and string bass, keyboards, componium, harmonica, string harp, drums, percussion, and more, as well as vocals. Those sung vocal elements, where they appear, are quite harmonically impressive, even a bit alienatiing at times, though blending seamlessly with the instrumentation. There are also sampled sounds that add a distinctive avant-garde feel to certain parts, most evident on the twelve-minute “Turn,” where samples are combined together into a percussive loop while bass and vibraphone work around them. Throughout, the results are distinctive and unique, though never abrasive or off-putting, and for those Italian speakers who understand the spoken and sung parts better than myself, that’s certainly a bonus. The MaRaCash label has made a Bandcamp page where every track can be heard (link below) and that’s probably as good a place as any to start.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Osservatorio delle Terre Emerse (OTEME)

More info

Latest news

Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Radio Massacre International - Rain Falls in Grey – I was initially concerned that my lack of experience with RMI’s back catalog might be a hindrance to writing a useful review. I needn’t have worried, since this release is a drastic departure from...  (2009) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues