Apr 27

Chris Potter, Underground Orchestra – Imaginary Cities (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:11:11 minutes | 1,25 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © ECM Records GmbH
Recorded: December 2013 Avatar Studios, New York

Imaginary Cities, an album of great power and expressive range, is the recording premiere of saxophonist Chris Potter’s new Underground Orchestra. At the core of this larger ensemble is the personnel of his long-established Underground quartet – with Adam Rogers, Craig Taborn and Nate Smith – now joined by two bassists, a string quartet, and Potter’s old comrade from Dave Holland Quintet days, vibes and marimba virtuoso Steve Nelson.

The title composition is a suite, panoramic in its reach, with movements subtitled “Compassion”, “Dualities”, “Disintegration” and “Rebuilding”. The scope of the work, and its contrasting moods and thematic continuity, inspire some of very Potter’s finest playing, including some extraordinary solos. His saxes fly high above his imaginary cityscapes or launch into dialogues or group improvising with its gifted inhabitants. Four further pieces – “Lament”, “Firefly”, “Shadow Self” and “Sky” – extend the feeling of the suite, successfully combining both tightly written material and very open areas involving all members of the orchestra. References are multi-idiomatic and multicultural, and Potter, who counts Charlie Parker with Strings amongst his formative enthusiasms, had Arabic and Indian string sections in mind, as well as contemporary composition, when shaping this material. The track “Shadow Self”, meanwhile, reflects the influence of Béla Bartók.

Potter assembled the Underground Orchestra originally in response to an invitation to present music at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. “There was an idea that it could be something that I hadn’t done before. So I started with the Underground quartet, with Craig Taborn on acoustic piano in this case [as opposed to the Fender Rhodes he usually plays in the small group] and then kept adding more and more players. No bass player in the Underground group? Well, I’ll have two this time. In my mind I was hearing a real thick rhythm section sound, also with vibraphone and piano. The way Fima [Ephron] and Scott [Colley] play together and improvise together makes a lot of things work in this music. And then the strings … eight or nine years ago I’d done an album called Song for Anyone where I’d written a little for strings. I didn’t want a classical-meets-jazz feeling. I wanted it all to be completely integrated. And, in places, the lines between the written material and the improvised material would be a little blurred, and the strings would improvise, too.” Not the least of the achievements of Imaginary Cities is the way in which Potter has extended the tremendous rhythmic drive of his Underground band into his music for the larger group.

The concept of the four movement structure of “Imaginary Cities” emerged slowly: “It really evolved from the writing. I had this idea of imaginary cities, a non-specific utopian idea of how the modern city could be better. Not that I’m writing a manifesto of what I think urban planning could be…It just seemed like a compelling way to organize my thoughts. It started out just being one tune and then I saw how one theme could migrate to another mood and continue it and be another aspect of the same thing. So it ended up being four movements with thematic development through the whole thing.” Potter says that he conceives of the whole album – the suite and the four additional songs arranged for the same musicians – as one unified sound.

Tracklist:
1. Lament 08:06
2. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 1 Compassion 08:35
3. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 2 Dualities 08:45
4. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 3 Disintegration 07:23
5. Imaginary Cities, Pt. 4 Rebuilding 11:33
6. Firefly 08:37
7. Shadow Self 06:10
8. Sky 12:02

Personnel:
Chris Potter, tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet
Adam Rogers, guitars
Craig Taborn, piano
Steve Nelson, vibraphone, marimba
Fima Ephron, e-bass
Scott Colley, double bass
Nate Smith, drums
Mark Feldman, violin
Joyce Hammann, violin
Lois Martin, viola
David Eggar, cello

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Apr 27

Chris Potter – The Sirens (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 1:03:18 minutes | 1,11 GB| Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | © ECM

The Sirens is acclaimed saxophonist Chris Potter’s ECM debut as a leader. It is an album of mood and melody, inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, both with its epic atmosphere and timeless humanity. Potter has previously contributed on several ECM albums with Dave Holland, Paul Motian and Jason Moran. Joining Potter are virtuosic musicians Craig Taborn, David Virelles, Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland. Potter declaims lyrical lines over the dynamically inventive rhythm section, as coloristic keyboards shimmer like stars in the night sky.

The Sirens retains the distinctive muscle and firepower that’s made Potter so vastly influential but, unsurprisingly, posits some new perspectives as well. ~~ All About Jazz

Tracklist:
01 – Wine Dark Sea
02 – Wayfinder
03 – Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers)
04 – The Sirens
05 – Penelope
06 – Kalypso
07 – Nausikaa
08 – Stranger At The Gate
09 – The Shades

Personnel
Chris Potter – soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Craig Taborn – piano
David Virelles – prepared piano, celeste, harmonium
Larry Grenadier – double bass
Eric Harland – drums

Recorded September 2011 at Avatar Studios, New York.
Produced by Manfred Eicher.
Engineer: James A. Farber Assistant: Charlie Kramsky.
An ECM Production (P)+(C) 2013.

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – The Pink Opaque (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:02 minutes | 869 MB | Genre: Punk, New Wave
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © 4AD

The Pink Opaque is the first compilation album by Cocteau Twins, composed of tracks recorded between 1982 and 1985. A joint release by the UK-based 4AD (the band’s label) and the USA-based Relativity Records, it was the band’s first official domestic USA release. The American label Relativity Records reached an agreement to distribute the band’s albums on license from 4AD. Rather than reissuing all of the band’s releases to that point, it was decided that the compilation The Pink Opaque would be issued instead, as a sampler of the Twins’ output up through early 1985.

After having built up a considerable reputation in the U.K. and Europe, the Cocteaus first fully reached America via this compilation, cherry-picking some of the group’s finest moments for this trans-Atlantic co-release between home label 4AD and then-stateside label Relativity. None of the ten tracks had been released in America before, but whoever assembled the release knew exactly what they were doing in terms of whetting appetites. The only absolute rarity on the disc was “Millimillenary,” originally turning up on a compilation tape given away by New Musical Express. It’s a fine number, recorded soon after Raymonde joined the group – a good mix of the Cocteaus’ instrumental lushness and Fraser’s vocal acrobatics. The version of Garlands’ “Wax and Wane” included here is slightly remixed and arguably even better than the original, bringing out everything a little more clearly and powerfully. A sage decision was the inclusion of all three tracks from the Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops EP; as flawless as that was, all deserved inclusion, while beginning the compilation with “The Spangle Maker” was also inspired. Other cuts include “Hitherto,” “From the Flagstones,” “Lorelei,” and the then-recent single “Aikea-Guinea.” Concluding with the similarly album-ending “Musette and Drums” from Head Over Heels, The Pink Opaque is a lovely taster for anyone wanting to discover the peerless early years of the Cocteaus.

Tracklist:
01 – The Spangle Maker
02 – Millimillenary
03 – Wax and Wane
04 – Hitherto
05 – Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops
06 – From the Flagstones
07 – Aikea-Guinea
08 – Lorelei
09 – Pepper-Tree
10 – Musette and Drums

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll (1988/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 35:04 minutes | 792 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz | Label: 4AD

Blue Bell Knoll from Cocteau Twins gets the reissue treatment, remastered some 26 years after its initial release. Strikingly beautiful at points, it features standouts such as ‘Athol-Brose’ and the title track ‘Blue Bell Knoll’, but it’s a slow burner of an album that features them retreading their best path while venturing into unknown territory. ‘Carolyn’s Fingers’ – perhaps the album’s highest point – features Elisabeth Fraser intoning hip-hop rhythms and delightful guitar melodies as played by Robin Guthrie. While not their best work, it’s a must for collectors and newcomers alike.

The first Cocteaus album to feature a full-band lineup since Treasure was also their first full studio record released in America, resulting from the group’s stateside deal with Capitol. Much to longtime fans’ surprise, the Twins in fact were much more content with Capitol than 4AD, hinting at their eventual full departure from that label. This was all well and good, but the trio’s new inspiration didn’t fully translate into their work, unfortunately. While Blue Bell Knoll has some striking moments that are pure Cocteaus at their best — the opening title track is especially lovely with a keyboard loop leading into Fraser’s ever-wonderful vocals, a light rhythm, and a great final Guthrie solo — it’s still the band’s least noteworthy release since Garlands. The feeling throughout is of a group interested in dressing up older approaches that have served them well, but aren’t as distinct; the quite-lush arrangements by Guthrie are fine but the songs are a touch more pedestrian. Blue Bell Knoll has enough initial steam, however, to ensure that there are reasons to listen, happily. “Athol-Brose” has the inspirational feel that the Twins can easily create. “Carolyn’s Fingers,” the clear album standout, is perhaps the strongest individual Cocteau song since “Aikea-Guinea,” with Fraser singing against herself over a rough, hip-hop-inspired rhythm while Guthrie peels off a fantastic main guitar melody and Raymonde contributes some supple bass work. After that amazing opening, things slowly but surely slide back a bit; most of the rest sounds okay enough to listen to, but the heartgripping intensity that defines the Twins at their best isn’t present.

Tracklist:
01 – Blue Bell Knoll
02 – Athol-Brose
03 – Carolyn’s Finger
04 – For Phoebe Still A Baby
05 – The Itchy Glowbo Blow
06 – Cico Buff
08 – Spooning Good Singing Gum
09 – A Kissed Out Red Floatboat
09 – Sucking The Mender
10 – Ella Megalast Burls Forever

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – Tiny Dynamine; Echoes In A Shallow Bay (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 32:43 minutes | 748 MB | Genre: Punk, New Wave
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © 4AD

Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay are two EPs by Cocteau Twins that were released in November of 1985. The tracks were originally recorded in order to test a new recording studio the band was using.

Released in tandem with the Echoes in a Shallow Bay EP and each essentially a companion piece to the other – the cover art and design alone are virtually clones – Tiny Dynamine documents a more relaxed Cocteau Twins. The band steps away more from the intense drama often brought to earlier albums and singles, indirectly signaling the equally calm but striking work that would surface on Victorialand and The Moon and the Melodies. “Pink Orange Red” would turn into a longtime favorite of the group’s, played on later tours and remade for the Twinlights EP nearly a decade later. A heartbreakingly beautiful Guthrie guitar opens the track, echoing and liquid, with Fraser’s vocal coming in a few chords later. Raymonde’s bass and the drum machine kick in a full-band arrangement, while Guthrie’s descending guitar lines after each verse provide the icing on the cake. The instrumental “Ribbed and Veined” has some fine Guthrie chiming and a loping percussion beat to recommend it, while “Sultitan Itan” is fair but not quite as strong in comparison, nice multi-tracking of Fraser’s vocals on the chorus aside. “Plain Tiger” concludes the EP on a slightly playful note, an upbeat little rhythm groove on the verses alternating with a more strident tone on the chorus, Fraser’s voice being much more staccato at the latter points.
Appearing the same month as its companion release Tiny Dynamine, Echoes maintains the more relaxed-though-still-lush feeling of that EP; if its songs aren’t quite as memorable as some of those on Dynamine, they still provide that lovely, unique Cocteau feeling in their performances and arrangements. “Great Spangled Fritillary” adds a touch of dark psychedelia to the proceedings, gong-like chimes and buried feedback drones mixing with the more expected Fraser singing and drum machine loops. “Melonella” has a neat hook by matching the main piano line and Fraser’s voice exactly in the verse, one constantly accompanying the other. For the chorus, she steps away for a little more free-form singing against extra guitar. “Pale Clouded White,” the EP’s best track, reintroduces the slightly ominous, dramatic edge that often characterizes the band’s most memorable work. An insistent piano line matches with the bass/drum combination, while Guthrie incorporates both electric and acoustic guitar lines as Fraser sings with understated but strong passion. “Eggs and Their Shells” wraps Echoes up on a softer note, a sweet Fraser vocal and guitar/piano arrangement leading the way.

Tracklist:
01 – Pink Orange Red
02 – Ribbed and Veined
03 – Plain Tiger
04 – Sultitan Itan
05 – Great Spangled Fritillary
06 – Melonella
07 – Pale Clouded White
08 – Eggs and Their Shells

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Apr 27

Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas (1990/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:37:52 minutes | 791 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz | Label: 4AD

Heaven or Las Vegas was released in 1990 and is recognized as their most commercially successful release, reaching number seven in the UK album charts. Numerous publications have since declared it one of the best albums of the 90s, Pitchfork calling it “a core of ungodly gorgeous songs that is every bit as moving and relevant today as it ever was.” Label founder Ivo Watts-Russell goes further, candidly revealing in the recent 4AD biography, Facing The Other Way, that this album wasn’t just his favorite Cocteau’s album, but also his favorite all-time 4AD album, and “by a long shot”, calling it “the perfect record.”

Tracklist:

01-Cherry-Coloured Funk
02-Pitch The Baby
03-Iceblink Luck
04-Fifty-Fifty Clown
05-Heaven Or Las Vegas
06-I Wear Your Ring
07-Fotzepolitic
08-Wolf In The Breast
09-Road, River And Rail
10-Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires

Personnel:
Elizabeth Fraser – vocals
Robin Guthrie – guitar
Simon Raymonde – bass

Production:
Producers: Cocteau Twins

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Apr 27

Murray Perahia – Brahms: Handel Variations (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:17:52 minutes | 0,99 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet | © Sony Classical

This release sees Murray Perahia returning to Brahms after a significant series of excellent Bach recordings for Sony Classical. His 1991 Sony recording of the Sonata No.3 has an assortment of Intermezzos and Rhapsodies as a filler, but this new disc sees Perahia taking the later opus numbers head-on, working up to them chronologically via the Handel Variations and Rhapsodies Op.79 which, as Katrin Eich says in her booklet notes, each represent an ‘end point’ at certain stages in Brahms’ compositional output.

Tracklist
01. Händel Variations, Op. 24 (26:03)
02. Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79: Rhapsodie in B Minor, Op. 79, No. 1 (9:02)
03. Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79: Rhapsodie in G Minor, Op. 79, No. 2 (6:15)
04. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Intermezzo in A Minor, Op. 118, No. 1 (1:51)
05. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2 (5:09)
06. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Ballade in G Minor, Op. 118, No. 3 (3:30)
07. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Intermezzo in F Minor, Op. 118, No. 4 (2:28)
08. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Romance in F Major, Op. 118, No. 5 (3:55)
09. Six Piano Pieces, Op. 118: Intermezzo in E-flat Minor, Op. 118, No. 6 (5:01)
10. Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119: Intermezzo in B Minor, Op. 119, No. 1 (3:31)
11. Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119: Intermezzo in E Minor, Op. 119, No. 2 (4:15)
12. Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119: Intermezzo in C Major, Op. 119, No. 3 (1:41)
13. Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119: Rhapsodie in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4 (5:10)

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Apr 27

Caecilie Norby – Arabesque (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 61:23 minutes | 1,23 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: GubeMusic.com | Digital Booklet | © ACT

Stunning Album from Danish Cæcilie Norby, Queen of Jazz-vocalists in Scandinavia.

Musical pigeonholes have never interested Danish singer Cæcilie Norby: “I have always been in search of catchy melodies – if you want to have a hit in the pop world, you need a strong melody. In jazz the central subject is that which opens a piece and, in classical music, even the grandest orchestral arrangements may become boring and flat if they aren’t carried by a natural melody.” For Norby it is the melody that is the essence of music, and the decisive criteria according to which she evaluates and chooses music which is free of any genre boundaries. It is an approach which mirrors her extraordinary career and is probably also the secret of her success.

Tracklist:
01 – The Dead Princess
02 – Wholly Earth
03 – No Air
04 – No Phrase
05 – Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
06 – The Tears of Billie Blue
07 – Women Of Santiago
08 – Pavane Opus
09 – Scheherazade
10 – I Will Say Goodbye
11 – Simple Theme
12 – Hvirvelvinden / The Windmills Of Your Mind
13 – Forever You
14 – Nocturne
15 – How Oft [Bonus Track – In Memory Of Erik Norby]

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Apr 27

Vincenzo Bellini – Norma – Cecilia Bartoli, Sumi Jo, John Osborn, Michele Pertusi, Orchestra La Scintilla, Giovanni Antonini (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:22:45 minutes | 2,59 GB | Genre: Classical, Opera
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Decca

In collaboration with Giovanni Antonini, Riccardo Minasi and Maurizio Biondi, Cecilia Bartoli restores the sound and spirit of Norma in a landmark Decca recording based on the opera’s original sources. Cecilia Bartoli leads a fabulous cast in Decca’s groundbreaking new recording, which presents Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma in a form that is complete with the exquisite mix of vocal and instrumental colours that Bellini intended for his ‘tragic opera’.

Tracklist:

01. Sinfonia
02. Act 1, Scene 1: Introduzione – “Ite sul colle, o Druidi”
03. Act 1, Scene 2: “Svanir le voci!”
04. Act 1, Scene 2: “Meco all’altar di Venere “
05. Act 1, Scene 2: “Me protegge, me difende “
06. Act 1, Scene 3: “Norma viene”
07. Act 1, Scene 4: “Sediziose voci, voci di guerra”
08. Act 1, Scene 4: “Casta Diva”
09. Act 1, Scene 4: “Fine al rito”
10. Act 1, Scene 4: “Ah! bello a me ritorna”
11. Act 1, Scene 5: “Sgombra è la sacra selva, compiuto il rito”
12. Act 1, Scene 5: “Deh! proteggimi, o Dio!”
13. Act 1, Scene 6: “Eccola! va, mi lascia, ragion non odo”
14. Act 1, Scene 6: “Va, crudele, al Dio spietato”
15. Act 1, Scene 7: “Vanne, e li cela entrambi”
16. Act 1, Scene 8: “Adalgisa!”
17. Act 1, Scene 8: “Oh! rimembranza!”
18. Act 1, Scene 8: “Ah! sì, fa core, e abbracciami”
19. Act 1, Scene 8: “Ma di’… l’amato giovane quale fra noi si noma?”…”Oh non tremare “
20. Act 1, Scene 9: “Oh! di qual sei tu vittima “..”Oh! qual traspare orribile”..”Norma! de’ tuoi rimproveri”
21. Act 1, Scene 9: “Perfido! – Or basti…Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno “
22. Act 2, Scene 1: Scena – Introduzione – “Dormono entrambi”
23. Act 2, Scene 3: “Mi chiami, o Norma!”
24. Act 2, Scene 3: “Deh! con te, con te li prendi”
25. Act 2, Scene 3: “Mira, o Norma”
26. Act 2, Scene 3: “Si, fino all’ore estreme”
27. Act 2, Scene 4: “Non parti?”
28. Act 2, Scene 5: “Guerrieri! a voi venirne”
29. Act 2, Scene 5: “Ah! del Tebro al giogo indegno fremo io pure”
30. Act 2, Scene 6: “Ei tornerà”
31. Act 2, Scene 6: “Squilla il bronzo del Dio!”
32. Act 2, Scene 7: “Guerra, guerra!”
33. Act 2, Scene 7: “Né compi il rito, o Norma?”
34. Act 2, Scene 10: “In mia man alfin tu sei”..”Già mi pasco ne’ tuoi sguardi”
35. Act 2, Scene 10: “Dammi quel ferro”
36. Act 2, Scene 11: “Qual cor tradisti, qual cor perdesti”
37. Act 2, Scene 11: “Norma! deh! Norma, scolpati!”
38. Act 2, Scene 11: “Deh non volerli vittime”

Musicians
Cecilia Bartoli – Norma
Sumi Jo – Adalgisa
John Osborn – Pollione
Michele Pertusi – Oroveso
Liliana Nikiteanu – Clotilde
Reinaldo Macias – Flavio
Orchestra La Scintilla
International Chamber Vocalists
Giovanni Antonini, conductor

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Apr 27

Chat Noir – Nine Thoughts For One Word (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 48:14 minutes | 957 MB | Genre: Electronic, Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: RareNoise | Artwork: Front cover | © Rare Noise Records

The adventurous trio Chat Noir has for the past 12 years defied easy categorization with its organic mix of ambient music, electronic textures as well as chamber music and jazz. Their singular approach to the piano trio, cinematic in scope and startlingly beautiful, has garnered critical raves throughout Europe. On Nine Thoughts for One Word, their sixth recording overall and second for London-based RareNoise Records, the two founding members, pianist Michele Cavallari and bassist Luca Fogagnolo, are joined in their further explorations by electronic/ambient music composer and producer Jan Peter Schwalm (Brian Eno, Eivind Aarset). Together they make a conceptual leap on what a piano trio can be, with the invaluable input of Schwalm’s studio magic.

This delicate balance of electronic experimentalism with acoustic piano and acoustic bass has been evolving gradually from the group’s initial release in 2006, Adoption, and continued on 2007’s Decoupage through 2008’s Difficult to See You. 2011’s Weather Forecasting Stone and 2014’s Elec3Cities. Their collective experimentation continues on the evocative Nine Thoughts for One Word. “Experimentation has always been a fundamental part of our work,” says bassist Fogagnolo. “We would describe our journey as a ship adrift. If jazz was our starting point we’ve always felt free to explore different languages.”
From the dramatic peaks of “Eternally Tranquil Light,” grounded by the resonant, woody tones of Fogagnolo’s upright bass, to the lyrical delicacy of Cavallari’s piano on “Fundamental Mind,” from the throbbing techno vibe of “Blinking Neon” to the Indonesian gamelan flavored introspection of “Detuning Leaves” and the mesmerizing trip-hop of “Uneven” and “Soft Ground,” Chat Noir explores myriad musical languages on Nine Thoughts for One Word. They also offer a very pleasing vocal number, “Momentarily Continual,” which is underscored by the pure, resonant tones of Fogagnolo’s upright bass, and they close out the program on a gentle note with Cavallari’s sparse piano work on the hymn-like “Crystallized Flow.”
“This album has more spatial sound and compositions, which in turn may sound (paradoxically) more ‘acoustic’,” Cavallari explains. “‘Crystallized Flow’ is pointing towards this different, more spacious dimension, which is also linked to the new lineup and to the role that J. Peter in particular had in our project.”
Though Schwalm trained as a drummer, he is now playing mainly electronic instruments and music. “We met him at a festival in Norway (Punkt 2008) and immediately fell in love with his style,” Cavallari recalls. “As we rearranged our lineup about one year ago, we decided to ask him for collaboration. For Luca and I, it was a natural choice to abandon the classic piano-bass-drums format and try something different, but in line with the evolution of our style, which incorporated more and more electronic textures over the years. Peter brought in his experience with sound processing and treatments, as well as his personal taste as co-producer of the album. Given his strong background in ambient music, his participation in the project sound-wise contributed to the very spacious dimension of the album, in line with the already ethereal vibe of the compositions.”
As for his longstanding musical relationship with Fogagnolo, Cavallari says, “Luca and I are good old pals. Our friendship and music collaboration informs one another. On the one hand, music made our friendship even stronger. On the other hand, we can rely on shared ideas about music, and even more generally about life, when playing together. It’s a constant dialog of spoken as well as unspoken words.
“We often have similar taste for music,” he continues. “But more importantly, when coming from different musical references and preferences, Luca and I have contributed even more to each other’s musical ideas and ways to perform.”
Cavallari adds that his method of playing and recording together with Fogagnolo changed radically four years ago when the two Italians relocated to different countries – Michele to the United States and Luca to Germany. “Our rehearsal room changed from being a shared space, where we used to physically meet quite often, to a virtual place. Nine Thoughts for One Word is our second album recorded through cloud-based sharing of music ideas and sessions. This wouldn’t have been possible without a long-term relationship. But somehow the distance helped to develop even more our personal taste, before sharing ideas for new tunes as we’ve always done. In the process of developing new tunes, we can count on a strong shared basis, established throughout our long collaboration, as well as on a naïve attitude and openness towards different ideas, and potentially surprises.”
He further describes the group’s modus operandi on Nine Thoughts for One Word: “Our approach is to try to understand where the composition is pointing to and to give meaningful contribution to it, by either contrasting or corroborating the original idea. Basically, the process we follow to compose and play together is grounded in the root of two essential and mutually reinforcing aspects: friendship and freedom.” Cavallari also explains that he and Fogagnolo have joint experience working on soundtrack recordings, which may explain why so much of their music has such a cinematic quality. “We did work on movie soundtracks in the past. Some of our tunes were featured in Cristina Comencini’s films – Don’t Tell (nominated for best foreign language film category at the 78th Academy Awards) and Black and White – as well as Francesca Comencini’s documentary In Fabrica. Our music has often been associated with cinematic features. Rather than thinking visually when composing, I guess we approach compositions in away that has similarities with film direction. We try to develop ‘stories’ and ‘plots’ through melodic lines and sometimes more abstract parts that overall follow a dynamically organized flow.
“As to the our way to approach compositions, either one of us usually ‘plants the seed’ of a new tune on his own. Then, from the original basic idea, we let the other totally express himself without limitations. Sometimes we go through multiple iterations of sending music ideas back and forth between us, as additional contributions can inspire new direction of the tune. It never happens that we don’t like what the other brought in terms of contribution to the song. In this sense we are totally connected.”
It is easy to see how such kindred spirits continue to collaborate and thrive, even when living on separate continents. And together with ambient mixmaster Schwalm, they travel to some wholly new musical territory on Nine Thoughts for One Word, the most transcendent Chat Noir release to date.

Tracklist:
01 – Eternally Tranquil Light
02 – Fundamental Mind
03 – Momentary Continual
04 – Blinking Neon
05 – Detuning Leaves
06 – Uneven
07 – Soft Ground
08 – Crystallized Flow

Musicians:
Michele Cavallari – keyboards, piano
Luca Fogagnolo – e-bass, upright bass, trombone
J. Peter Schwalm – electronics, beats, keyboards, acoustic guitar
with
Daniel Calvi – guitars on “3,4,7”
Alessandro Tomaselli – voice on “3”

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