Wednesday, 3 September 2014

MODERN EXPLORERS

Mad Fellaz are a young band from from Bassano del Grappa, a town in the province of Vicenza, that began life in 2010 on the initiative of Paolo Busatto, Marco Busatto and Emanuele Pasin with the aim of playing original music inspired by the prog masters from the seventies but also by more recent bands such as Porcupine Tree. After a first demo in 2012, in 2013 Mad Fellaz released an excellent eponymous debut album on the independent label Lizard Records with a line up featuring Paolo Busatto (guitar), Marco Busatto (drums), Emanuele Pasin (guitar), Carlo Passuello (bass), Enrico Brunelli (keyboards) and Rudy Zilio (flute, clarinet). The album is completely instrumental and the band showcase great musicianship and excellent song-writing skills. The musical fabric is extremely rich and combines vintage sounds and modern influences with surprising freshness and brilliant results: in my opinion there's enough originality thrown into the mix to keep all the compositions and arrangements forward looking and interesting from the first minute to the last.

album cover

The album begins by a long, complex suite divided into two parts, “Il colpevole” (The guilty), that could be the perfect score for an Italian crime film from the seventies. There are no liner notes, so the plot is completely left up to your imagination while the music flows away without weak passages for more than thirty minutes, going through many changes in rhythm and mood, from delicate, nocturnal piano passages to fiery, nervous collective chases...

Next comes the lively “Banda Scavejoni”, the shortest track on the album that with its funky grooves recalls bands such as Calibro 35 and evokes more action and criminal deeds with a typical poliziottesco atmosphere.



The following “White Widow” starts with a drum roll, then a bluesy pace takes over while Jethro Tull's shadow looms large over the horizon. Who is the White Widow here? Is she a wicked, dangerous woman or just a powerful cannabis strain? The band give no clues and it's up to you to decide what the music is about...

The album ends with the nearly fifteen minute epic “La giungla” (The jungle) where you can experience exotic flavours and a strong sense of adventure. You can find here a broad palette of musical colours, from oriental mysticism to flamenco sketches, from dark tribal rhythms to joyful Latin rock à la Santana and while listening to this track I'm reminded of the adventures of fictional characters such as Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger or Henry Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain... A wonderful conclusion for a very interesting work!

Mad Fellaz 2014

In 2014, soon after the album was released, the band went through some line-up changes: guitarist Emanuele Pasin left while Lorenzo Todesco (percussion) and Jason Nealy (guitars) stepped in. At the moment Mad Fellaz are working on new material and I'm looking forward to listen to it!

Mad Fellaz: Mad Fellaz (2013). Other opinions:
Michael “Aussie-Byrd-Brother”: Combining everything from guitar fusion workouts, metal, ambient, electronica, avant-garde experimentation, jazz, ethnic flavours and plenty of Italian classical sophistication, their atmospheric self titled album constantly showcases a band that greatly enjoys experimenting with different genres, yet they never over-reach or attempt anything they're not comfortable with. Even more impressive is that they succeed in performing these different styles effortlessly in a truly proficient manner, making for an album that is daring, unpredictable and endlessly thrilling... Certainly one of the most sublime, varied and exquisite instrumental albums of recent years... A hugely exciting and talented band with a very promising future, already playing with a grand skill well beyond their young years... (read the complete review HERE)

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