Francesco Chiapperini (compositions, bass and soprano clarinet )
Simone Lobina (electric guitar, effects)
Simone Quatrana (piano and electric piano)
France Mon Amour
Biella, Italy, November 2015 & February 2016
It begins with a repetitive crunchy rhythm guitar. The ear expects drums and a bassline to kick in any moment, maybe some vocals. Instead, we get a jazz-ish piano extemporisation. As guitar and piano settle back a little, cue a slightly mournful (aren’t they all?) bass clarinet solo. Introductions are over, a theme is stated in unison and as the ear once again anticipates some kind of song, Chiapperini & Co. wrong-foot us again (or ‘wrong-ear’) with a left turn into improvised upper-register guitar lines over a feedback drone. That opening track (France Mon Amour) sets out the stall: a bassless, drumless space in which guitar, piano and reeds are let loose to roam and explore – composed themes and passages give structure, and the wide open landscape offers a freedom; one that is exploited to the full but never abused.
This is no aggressive noisefest but rather a carefully constructed environment with endless room for surprises: the thoughtful meditation of Promenade with its slowly expanding menace; the shifting identities in Only Theme as one voice seems to blur into the next; the frenetic scrambling start of Rock Scale that gives way to a cracked bell rhythm chord, circling klezmer-ish clarinet, and Lobina’s guitar gnawing at the edges.
And so it goes…
The instrumentation may seem unusual but it’s only the absence of the traditional rhythm section that makes it so – the three voices are more exposed, less constrained maybe, and that allows the trio to turn in any direction they choose – the road ahead is not mapped out and the three musicians take compelling advantage of that fact to produce something that combined moody introspection with elegiac flights of imagination.
I had to buy this disc when Bandcamp cut me off. I realised I’d used up all my free listens without even noticing. That’s rare. So is this music.
“Paradigm Shift” is available on CD or download from Bandcamp.