The Antikythera is an ancient Greek mechanical computer dating from around 87 BC, used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes. When you think what the Ancient Greeks gave mankind in knowledge and wisdom, and in the advancement of critical thinking, some might say the current climate is indicative of a steady regression in those areas, as the human race eats itself in an orgy of isolationism and self-interest. The planet may be suffering now, but it and the cosmos will be here long after we are but a fleeting nightmarish visitation, self-immolated into the infinite reaches of the beyond. This album gets to grips with the unknowable vastness of space in a thoroughly beguiling fashion.
Using this ancient mechanical wonder as the basis for an instrumental album of Kosmische cinematic sweeps, and Zen-like examinations of the soul, it is a grand concept that one might expect a highly accomplished artist such as Lorenzo Feliciati to be tackling, and with some style, it has to be said. You may know Feliciati as key contributor to albums such as KOI and Twinscapes, the latter with fellow bassist Colin Edwin. On Antikythera his partner in sound sculpture is drummer, percussionist, and electronics manipulator Michele Rabbia, and here the duo undertake an exploratory journey of great depth into an endless synchronicity, where everything is connected, stretching out before the listener. Just as the movement of stars in the sky reveals repeated patterns, so Antikythera swirls around motifs in a wonderous meteor shower of music.
Guest musicians such as trumpeter Cuong Vu add splashes of bright colour to the unfolding vistas of sound, as everything merges with the night on Prochronistic, lending that particular track an ethereal air, but one grounded in the human world. This track is quite lovely, in case you haven’t already guessed.
…I return to this writing quite a while later, thanks to the pressures of work in the real world, and while a good proportion of what is written to the end of the previous paragraph was committed to the document while slightly but pleasantly drunk after an Xmas party at a neighbour’s house, I read it now, and yes, a few alterations and additions aside, it stands true. Which is just as well as otherwise I’d have to start again! Now, where was I?
The track titles describe time and the mapping of the cosmos, and no doubt like me, you’ll learn a couple of new words there! Ironically, the passage of time becomes somewhat irrelevant listening to the album. It could pass in the blinking of an eye, or be infinitely long, who knows, or cares?
Irregular Orbit eases us into the cosmic debris in suitably accomplished style, trails of impressionistic piano from Alessandro Gwis leading the way. Alessandro also lends his soloing skills to the hypnotic Sidereal. You could describe this as space-rock if so inclined, but this is space-rock like no other. For me it is no more or less than good music played very well, and with heart and soul.
Clever use of harmonics combine with flowing sheets of synth chords are the basis of the drifting Corrosion, and the welcome inclusion of Cuong Vu’s trumpet illuminates the aforementioned Prochonistic, the soundscape drifting away at one point, leaving that now lone instrument in conversation with the universe, the whole thing being driven by a gentle but pulsing beat straight from the heart. Lorenzo’s Mumpbeak bandmate Roy Powell adds Hammond and Moog weirdness to the almost avant Apogee, where cosmic entropy holds sway. This is nicely contrasted by the calming final track Parapegma, a slowly swaying lullaby led by Lorenzo’s upright bass, and signed off with Cuong Vu’s trumpet. Antikythera is a hugely impressive piece of work.
There are many musical highlights on this journey to forever, and Antikythera is the ideal album to de-stress to, but it also lends itself to a good rattling of the ornaments, if you are so inclined. At that volume my feline helper usually scarpers but it seems Kat approves of this fine album at whatever volume. So should you!
01. Irregular Orbit (5:17)
02. 223 Teeth (3:41)
03. Corrosion (6:26)
04. Prochronistic (8:17)
05. Sidereal (8:38)
06. Perigee (5:55)
07. Apogee (3:59)
08. Parapegma (3:36)
Total Time – 43:52
Lorenzo Feliciati – Electric Fretted & Fretless Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Samples, Sound Design
Michele Rabbia – Drums, Electronics
Cuong Vu – Trumpet (tracks 4 & 5)
Andy Sheppard – Saxophone (tracks 2 & 8)
Rita Marcotuli – Acoustic & Prepared Piano (tracks 2,5 & 8)
Alessandro Gwis – Acoustic Piano, Reaktor Generated Electronics (tracks 1 & 6)
Roy Powell – Hammond Organ, Moog, Keyboards (track 7)
Record Label: RareNoise
Date of Release: 25th October 2019