Fabio Martini / Circadiana Clangori
Leo Lab / CD045

Fabio Martini / Bb clarinet, Giancarlo Locatelli / Bb clarinet, alto and bass clarinet, Massimo Falascone / alto, sopranino and baritone saxophones, Sergio Notari / English horn, Marina Ciccarelli / trombone, Luca Venitucci / accordion, devices, Angelo Avogadri / electric guitar, Luciano Margorani / electric guitar, Tito Mangialajo Rantzer / double bass, Filippo Monico / percussion, Fabrizio Spera / percussion, amplified objects.

Martini hits the right metaphor when he calls this music “isobaric”: its turbulence is certainly reminiscent of weather systems, and its logic-within-chaos has something of the cloud formation about it. The ten pieces on this disk and large group “compositions”, though Martini’s instructions were more in the way ofvague but helpful directions to these performers drawn in equal parts from Italy’s free jazz and experimental rock scenes.

These are high-energy works performed by ten musicians who may be unfamiliar to UK listeners but many of whom are audibly bursting with ideas. A cracking percussion solo which opens “Oster 28” shows Monico to be a force to be reckoned with, and Felascone demonstrates some astonishingly-controlled high notes as well as a nice solo on “Rouge”. Throughout, Avogadri’s guitar and Rantzer’s bass provide a dynamic rattle and clatter out of which sublime things briefly flit.

In lots of ways, it would be nice to compare this music with Zorn’s Cobra project, but that would probably give the wrong impression. Martini’s concentration span is clearly longer than Zorn’s, and rather than jump-cut collages these are much more conventionally flowing performances. They also have a more straightforward affective intent — they are big, blusterin pieces, looming up on you like thunderclouds. Martini and his colleagues seem to prefer big gestures to elegant ones, shouting to whispering; his aesthetic is size, not economy. And that may be unfashionable, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. “Hoo-Doo” and “De-finendo” are the only tracks which look like exceptions, with their halos of relative quietude, but even there a boiling shuffle underlies them, occasionally rising to the surface like something malevolent. Richard Cochrane