What a second listening can do.Well of course, I’ve listened many more times than that, don’t worry. What I’m referring to is that difference in my reaction to this album between the first and second listens.
The first listening experience was one of slight bewilderment, surprise and slight uneasiness. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was outside the range of possibilities I was considering. I wasn’t impressed with what I heard. As a result I felt my relationship with this album is not headed towards a prosperous future.
By the second listen, for some reason, I felt much more convenient with the music; all of a sudden it sounded much more pleasant, natural and smooth.
I’m not sure why this happened, as I (almost) never disparage an album based on: 1) first listen and 2) expectations.
I don’t know why this album had the “misfortune” of getting the cold shoulder from me at first. It was unfair and misleading. Particularly as I grew fond of the album on the second listen; and in each further listen since. An album like this is really not one to try and gobble in one take and be done with it.
But who am I talking about? Who is Daal?
Good question. Daal is the duo of Italian musicians: Davide Guidoni and Alfio Costa. Both are seasoned musicians who have worked with many other groups, particularly those in the progressive rock playground (Nuova Era, Taproban, The Far Side, Gallant Farm, Ozone Player, Tilion, Prowlers, Dark Sessions, Colossus Project).
Davide is a drummer and Alfio is a keyboards player, but both employ a vast array of instruments that, upon listening to their music, will make you think you’re listening to an extended lineup. Indeed, layers upon layers of sounds are laid on top the other, creating thick and rich textures.
In this album they are joined by the following guest musicians: Riccardo Paltanin (electric fiddle), Guglielmo Mariotti (of The Watch; bass, vocals), Ettore Salati (of Soulengine; sitar), Salvo Lazzara (of Pensiero Nomade; oud), Alessandro Papotto (of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso; horns) and Bobo Aiolfi (of Tilion and Prowlers; bass).
The album is mostly instrumental, made up of 9 tracks, one of which has vocals.
The album contains spooky pieces, such as Anarchrist containing ominous sounding keyboards. Another beautiful and mysterious sounding composition is Level 6666 with subtle but creative drumming and a plethora of keyboards, both occasionally enhanced by a sitar.
On the other hand, you have Aglatarium, which starts out as a cool and calm jazzy tune with a nice fretless bass and a beautiful soprano sax solo (at least I think it’s a soprano saxophone). Midway through the piece, there is a sharp short turn into electronic and psychedelic tainted pastures and a powerful climax lead by a saxophone (at least it sounds like one).
Some of the pieces on this album will help people uninitiated with hallucinatory effects of intoxicating agents, to understand effects of said chemicals (if any such people exist or still remain). By that I mean, there are some trippy moments on this album. Good trippy moments. Ones you wish to revisit and explore further. Among those trippy tracks are Destruktive Actions Affect Livings, Noises From An Interlude, Cry-Hologenic and the instrumental section of The Dance Of The Drastic Navels Part II.
The duo creates an odd but appealing ambiance that is akin to being under the influence of a delirium-inducing substance. I also like a lot the Tangerine-Dream-esque influence in the middle of The Dance Of The Drastic Navels.
The title track in particular is a trippy experience with tribal and processed percussions, electronic effects and wild sax soloing in the background (again, I’m not sure if it’s a saxophone or not). This sounds like a maniacal period inside a patient’s head (I should know). The apparent chaos and disorder here are coerced into an organized form that eventually coalesces into a structured and cohesive piece.
This album is one of those experience albums. An album I listen to for the ambiance, the peculiar sounds and moods it conjures and not so much for the melodies. In that aspect, I find it a successful release. Its wide range of styles and sound and its exploratory nature make it an experience I enjoy and want to come back to.