Ison is the second full length album by Démodé, a very interesting "pocket size orchestra", as they love to define themselves, from Udine. It was self released in 2015, four years after the previous Le parole al vento, with a renewed line up featuring Francesco Zanon (violin), Andrea Zampieri (clarinet), Claudio Colaone (sax), Luca Laruina (piano), Carin Marzaro (bass) and Alberto Zenarolla (drums). In my opinion these four years of gigs and hard work in the studio have resulted in a very mature work where the band showcase all their great talent and musicianship mixing jazz and chamber music, avant-garde and tango, East-European folk and progressive, melodies and dissonances... The result is an excellent instrumental album that is really worth listening to from start to finish!
The opener "La fuga" (The escape) could evoke a joyful ride in the country after a hard week spent on the workplace. It starts with a nervous passage led by sax, drums, pulsing bass lines and piano, then the music begins to swing towards positive feelings and more relaxed atmospheres until the finale, when some delicate sax lines seem almost wishing you good-night.
"Ison", is darker and full of mystery. The title of this piece refers to the comet ISON, also known as C/2012 S1, a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012. In 2013 Ison broke apart when it passed close to the sun because of heat and tidal forces... According to the official website, between creation and destruction comets are symbols of metamorphosis and, as the passage of Ison coincided with a moment of deep renewal for the band, they chose to name after it not only this piece but the whole album.
"Arturo" is a short track that starts slowly and then evolves in a lively dance with klezmer influences that make me think of Louis de Funès playing the role of Rabbi Jacob in an old French comedy film... The following "Memento" is reflective, jazzy and cinematic. I don't know if this piece was inspired by the film of the same name directed by Christopher Nolan in 2000, but in my opinion it could be a really good score for a neo-noir psychological thriller with such a kind of plot...
The dreamy "Nuances" conjures up ethereal atmospheres and black and white memories. It leads to the magical beauty of "Il sentiero incantato" (The enchanted path) that seems to take you on a mystical trip in the Alps. The evocative music will lead you on a beautiful path, through breathtaking panoramas and ancient woods where rocks, trees and roots conjure up legends and old myths...
The title of the following "Il papiro di Ani" (The Papyrus of Ani) refers to a papyrus manuscript with cursive hieroglyphs and colour illustrations created during the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt and that now lies in the British Museum. Egyptians compiled an individualized book for certain people upon their death, called the Book of Going Forth by Day, more commonly known as the Book of the Dead, typically containing declarations and spells to help the deceased in their afterlife, and this manuscript was compiled for the Theban scribe Ani... In my opinion, here the beautiful music could be a perfect score for a film based upon a novel by Wilbur Smith such as The Seventh Scroll or River God.
|Démodé on stage 2015|
"Split Inside" is a calm, introspective track featuring classical patterns veined of exoticism and romantic dreams. Every now and again it reminds me slightly of Le Orme's album Florian... Next comes the suggestive "Charlotte" with its sensual Latin flavour and its echoes of tango.
According to the band, the ever changing "Luna indiana" (Indian Moon) was conceived like a crazy radio station that changes continuously tune with irony and absolute nonchalance. It precedes the lively closer "Zucchero sotto sale" (Sugar under salt) wthat blands in a funny way classical passages, jazz and Latin rhythms driving you in a frenzied final dance...
On the whole, I think that this is a really good, mature work. Anyway, have a try and judge by yourselves: you can listen to the complete album HERE