Out on the outskirts of Rock, right near the border with Jazz, there lurks an Italian band who along with others of its ilk, tears down the fences marking the separations between genres and brings with it yet more influences in, forming a new musical landscape.Calomito is the band, a group from Genoa, now signed to the fabulous AltrOck label. This is their second album, their first being Inaudito released in 2005. Though I have that album, I’ve not heard it in quite a while and recall very little of it.
Now, I could tell you how great this album is. I could tell you about their avant/chamber-rock style, their jazziness, their groove and rhythmic tunes, their mix of oddities and a melodic side. But I fear my points won’t come across as clearly as their music does. Thus not doing justice to the band and their album.
Shall I go at it nonetheless? Well, I feel obliged to, given how much I enjoy listening to this album.
Calomito’s music to me represents a solid balance of adventurous spirit, melody-oriented writing and focus on groove and vibe.
Their music plays on the edges of rock and jazz, veers off every once in a while to the avant-garde side of the camp, but doesn’t forget to bring along a healthy dose of appeal and accessibility. They seem keen on taking ingredients from various musical camps during the album’s 9 pieces: rock, jazz (Bella Lee), post rock (Cane Di Schiena), chamber rock (Fungo, Cane Di Schiena), folk/ethnic (Pappa Ireale, Antenna, Klez). I don’t mean each of these pieces are in this styles, but that those styles are incorporated into each song and serve the Calomito style and approach.
There is no flashiness here, no complexity for the sake of it. Instead you’ll get a healthy and wealthy dose of well-constructed and accessible tunes and with defined melodies; in some tunes you will perceive a sense of humour and a jovial spirit (Pappa Ireale), while in others a more serious tone (Cane Di Schiena) and in yet others, a melancholic taste (Antenna, Cane Di Schiena).
Another balance is maintained in the dynamics of the album; the compositions differ in pace, some slower and more relaxed than others (compare Antenna and Cane Di Schiena with Bella Lee and Fungo for instance); however, tempo is not all the story here as each piece develops and changes during its course, Antenna being the prime example of such a progress. From a mid-paced and relatively restrained section it slowly changes and gains additional layers and strengths towards its end.
There is much music to absorb here, but unlike other releases in this “style”, this album doesn’t feel cumbersome and overwhelming to me. It feels “open” and “breathing”, i.e., not claustrophobic and dense, though the richness and power of the sound in some of the tunes might convince you otherwise.
I’ve often had a feeling after listening to albums, that the various compositions are hard to differentiate after listening the first few times and it took many listens to be able to penetrate the album’s “mists” and be able to recognize each track individually. Remarkably, that was not the case for me here. I felt that each track on the album is well differentiated from the others, well defined and characterized that I was able to remember, by looking at the names of the pieces, what I heard.
I don’t know how AltrOck manages to procure these bands of theirs, but most of the time these bands produce top-notch material that make my year-end lists. Calomito is another such band from their roster.
Prog Archives band page