Maurizio “Mau” Di Tollo is an Italian artist who was born in Ortona, in Abruzzo, and now lives in Genoa. During his career he has been playing drums with bands such as Distillerie di Malto, La Maschera di Cera, Moongarden and Hostsonaten (just to name but a few!), but he's also an all-round musician and a sensitive composer. In 2012 he released on the independent label AMS/BTF his first solo album, “L'uomo trasparente” (The transparent man), that features the collaboration with poet and painter Ksenja Laginja who took charge of the art work and provided evocative recitative vocals reading some of her poems. On the album Maurizio Di Tollo sung and played drums, percussion, synthesizers, Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, Glockenspiel and piano. During the recording sessions he was helped by many friends such as Alessandro Corvaglia (vocals), Christian Marras (bass), Andrea Monetti (flute), Laura Marsano (guitars), Rossano Villa (piano), Fabio Zuffanti (vocals), Agostino Macor (Moog), Michele Savino (piano) and Matteo Casu (acustic guitar). The result is a refined album full of soft nuances where poetry has an important role and music peacefully flows away following an introspective path. In fact, you won't find here any hyper-technicality or astounding drum solos but a well balanced compositional style. The album is conceived as a long suite and there is no pause between the different tracks that describe in words and music the end of an important love story and the overcoming of the emotional trauma that follows.
|Maurizio Di Tollo|
The short opener “L'uomo trasparente” sets the atmosphere... “Here I am, sitting on my years / Clinging to my memories / In this silent house / Naked and transparent...”. The suggestive voice of Ksenja Laginja conjures up poetical images and depicts the need to ride your time overcoming the foggy, limited horizon that you can see from your window... It leads to “Tannhauser”, a track about the need of dreams to live on, to overcome the daily grind and the lack of ideals of the people who surround you. A dream could mean a rebirth or a bitter pain, a light on the frontier or a mask of wax, a place where men can grow up free, an ideal place whee you can stand up and follow the beating of your heart... “Only dreaming can save me / Let my blood running on the streets of Tannhauser...”.
The melancholic “Pioggia sulla memoria” (Rain on the memory) draws memories washed away by the pouring rain. Lost chances, words carried away by the wind, a broken relationship... “It melts into the water, as tears in the river / Your absent-minded eyes are shut behind a shield...”. The dreamy, visionary “La curva dei pitosfori” (The bend of the pittosporums) evokes a sequence of images, a kind of film where fragments of life slide away in a dream of beauty... “There's nothing left but a frame without eternity / The smell of the pittosporums and your skin I miss so bad / And a finale fading out on an unknown life...”. “Io sono quel cespuglio” (I am that shrub) is another bittersweet, reflective track in the same vein... “I am that shrub / An undecipherable point in the distance / A neglected park / A thought without shape nor substance / Nonetheless I stand out firmly / I don't need you... You can ignore me but I'm here...”. It leads to “Casomai” (Just in case), a beautiful track featuring piano and vocals in the forefront... “I shout in the wind / I'll find again what I'm losing now, living on...”. Then comes “Pioggia ripresa” (Rain, reprise), a short instrumental reprise of the third track.
|L'uomo trasparente: inner sleeve|
“La poesia della carne” (The poetry of the flesh) features an oriental atmosphere full of sensuality where the voice of Ksnja Laginjia introduces a vibrant instrumental part... “Love the pure beauty of the heart / Love the poetry of the flesh...”. “Milioni di occhi al cielo” (Millions of eyes looking at the sky) describes the beginning of a new deal after a troubled split up. It begins softly with soaring vocals on a delicate piano pattern... “A tape that I re-winded / It's my identity... Millions of eyes looking at the sky / And a new fire that dissolves the ice... Soul in tears, have a rest now / I'm coming back home...”. Then the conclusive “I topi saranno i vincitori” (Mice will be the winners) celebrates the rebirth of a man who is able to forgive an soothe his rage.
Maurizio Di Tollo: L'uomo trasparente (2012). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: Like many Zuffanti projects or older stuff like Basso's debut, the songs are safe and pleasant, preferring beauty and majesty over wild and crazy, but in this case the material is anything but bland. They take beautiful melodies and adorn them with the usual Italian icing like piano, flute, and strings, but there is a somewhat unusual atmospheric element introduced as well. Spacey quiet moments, poetic spoken word narrations, intricate percussion, and sound effects all give the tracks a richer mouthfeel... (read the complete review HERE).