NichelOdean/InSolar & Relatives - INCIDENTI - Lo Schianto

NichelOdeon / InSonar & Relatives – INCIDENTI-Lo Schianto

Last year I belatedly came across a magnificent album by the Deadburger Factory collective of Italian artists, which blew my mind. This year, I’ve belatedly come across a magnificent album by the NichelOdeon/InSonar & Relatives collective of Italian artists, which has blown my mind. While the two albums are very different in sound, both mine avant garde territories full of intense and extreme soundscapes, resulting in music that may be a challenging listen for many, but which I find I cannot get enough of. The thread that ties together the four groups who make up the music of INCIDENTI – Lo Schianto is one Claudio Milano – a self-described speleologist of sound, implying not so much an exploration of sound (that would surely be a spelunker, rather than a speleologist), as a scientific interest in the form and structure of sound, and the processes that can affect its constructions and appearances. Speleology is a cross-disciplinary field, and that too fits the character of Claudio Milano as a “designer of sonic geometries for theater/performance/dance/installations”. If a traditional speleologist can be said to develop portraits of caves as complex, evolving systems and relationships, so Claudio has developed over the years his own portraits of sound as complex, evolving systems and relationships.

Another link to caves, to my ears, is the shamanistic sound of much of this album (which again draws me back to Deadburger Factory’s La Chiamata, and the importance of the shaman to its concept and themes). If you have any doubt about the ubiquity of the idea of a shaman in their cave, simply Google and find a plethora of images and links. The polyphony (some might call it a cacophony) of Claudio’s vocals could well be the echoing chanting of the shaman in their cave. Not that this shaman is alone, as over forty musicians perform on the album, within four band projects. It might then sound surprising that the whole is so remarkably consistent and cohesive. Perhaps because all are pursuing a similar vision, and probably more so because of the presence of Milano throughout. In fact, I imagine some listeners might well assume this is the output of just one band, if they were not told otherwise. While there are differing sounds between the four bands, and it doesn’t take long to be able to recognise their individual aspects, all mesh together beautifully. Chaotic, atonal jazz, foreboding, dissonant folk, Gothic, operatic metal, and more, all of which coalesces into one breathtakingly, jarringly, exhilarating, radically eclectic, genre-bending whole.

The album’s title recalls Porcupine Tree’s The Incident, which explores throughout how the words ‘accident’ or ‘incident’ can be so detached from something destructive and traumatic. But the second part of the title INCIDENTI – Lo Schianto (‘The Crash’) brings its own mental imagery that is almost cognitively dissonant to the abstract notion of the first part. That dissonance, and the alteration of perception that individuals can have about an incident or accident, is wonderfully communicated by the multiple vocal lines of Milano – who has an extraordinary range (spanning octaves) and styles (including some quite marvellous throat singing). The vocals of Milano will either make or break this album for listeners. I love Milano’s singing, in all its extremes and eccentricities, and the breadth of emotions he can evoke with just his voice is quite astounding – even if one can’t understand what is being sung. I resorted to asking Claudio Milano for the lyrics, so I could churn them through Google Translate, and thankfully he obliged. The lyrics can be particularly graphic, especially earlier on in the album. It’s no wonder Milano’s vocals are so tortured and anguished at times. It makes sense that the reinterpretation of a Peter Hammill song is one about repressive hegemony, and which serendipitously appears on an album most famous for a side-long suite detailing the aftermath of a crash.

A Black Box aside, the concept of INCIDENTI – Lo Schianto possibly couldn’t have more relevance now; as Russia continues its aggression, invasion and occupation of Ukraine, for ‘the crash’ of INCIDENTI is the collapse of social equilibrium, and the fear and terror generated by this – of repression and murder, and dispersion of those who fall victim to it. The album is not as depressing as this sounds, though, as it is more about overcoming that aggression. Even the artwork expresses this, with the knife almost omnipresent – but a symbol not necessarily of danger and violence, but of responsibility and redemption. The knife in the target, and particularly in the inner artwork, above the head, along with the apple (again particularly in the inner artwork), could be considered an allusion to William Tell, Palnatoki, Egill, Henning Wulf and all the many other Germanic and Norse figures of legend who shot an apple off a child’s head to escape injustice. The cover art itself is also somewhat reminiscent (if only to me) of Salvadore Dali’s Autumnal Cannibalism, and its theme of dissonance in the face of the destruction of war. In both artworks, there are elements of tranquillity and horror, and in both an apple features prominently. Dali’s apple was a deliberate reference to the William Tell tale, but in his version, Tell’s son does not survive. (Less obvious than the whole apple on the head of one of the figures, is a peeled apple below, representing the death.)

All these words, and very little describing the music. But for that I make no apology, as this album is all about the words of Claudio Milano, and the creative manner in which they are performed. As great as the music is – and it is great (amazingly so) – it is secondary to the voice(s) of Milano. Apropos the Peter Hammill reinterpretation, as Marmite as Hammill can be, Milano stretches the listener’s limits even further. But so long as you are willing to be stretched, the rewards of this album are almost limitless. Heck, there’s even a snatch of the Smurf’s la-la song, and no matter how many times I hear it (and that’s very many, by now) it still puts a smile on my face. Each song on the album is appended “Senza Valore” (“without value”), which is perhaps just one more example of the dissonance and alteration of perception, as every track holds a great deal of value for me. And, for those like me who can’t get enough, the longest track from INCIDENTI – Lo Schianto has also been released as a stand-alone single, with an alternate version that is as enthralling as the album version. I can very highly recommend this, in addition to the album itself. Wow! Just, wow!

01. Not Me – Non Esistono (Senza Valore #1) (3:31)
02. NichelOdeon – How Hard Tune! La canzone dei soli (Senza Valore #2) (2:38)
03. This Order – Variations on The Jargon King (Senza Valore #3) (5:22)
04. NichelOdeon – Il Barbiere degli Occhi (Senza Valore #4) (7:36)
05. Not Me – Con Dedica (Senza Valore #5) (2:55)
06. Not Me – Senza Ritorno (Senza Valore #6) (3:22)
07. NichelOdeon – La Scatola (Senza Valore #7) (6:49)
08. NichelOdeon – L’ultima Sigaretta – Fantasmi ad Argun (Senza Valore #8) (5:22)
09. NichelOdeon – Idiota – Autoritratto (Tadzio’s Death – Senza Valore #9) (2:42)
10. This Order & Coucou Sèlavy – Ho Gettato mio Figlio da una Rupe perché non Somigliava a Fabrizio Corona (Senza Valore #10) (12:11)
11. Not Me – Sabbia Scura (Senza Valore #11) (4:11)
12. Not Me – Del Mondo gli Occhi – New Moses (Senza Valore #12) (1:03)
13. InSonar – Nyama – Gettarsi Oltre (Senza Valore #13) (10:10)
14. NichelOdeon – La Montagna e il Trono (Senza Valore #14) (5:17)
15. Not Me – Out Let – Viae di (s)PHjga (Senza Valore #15) (3:36)

Total Time – 76:45

Claudio Milano – All Vocal Sounds (tracks 2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,13,15 & 16), Vocal Noises & Recited Introductions (11 & 12), Screaming (12), Backing Vocals & Vocal Effects (8), Diamonica & Piano (9), Percussion (4 & 16), Synth (6 & 13), Field Recordings (4,9 & 15), Electronics (13,14,15 & 17)
Paolo Siconolfi – Editing, Mixing, Mastering, Sound Design (tracks 1 to 17), Electronics (2,4,6,8,9,13 & 15), Field Recordings (4 & 11)
Erica Scherl – Violin (tracks 2,4,7,8,10,11,12,15 & 16)
Evaristo Casonato – Oboe (tracks 2,4,7,8,15 & 16), Flutes (4,7,8 & 16), Contralto Sax (7 & 16), English Horn (16)
Paolo Tofani Krsna Prema – IPad (tracks 3 & 16)
Vincenzo Zitello – Theremin Moog (track 4)
Laura Catrani – Soprano (tracks 1 & 14)
Coucou Sèlavy – One Thousand Voices/Theatre (tracks 11 & 12)
Dalila Kayros – Extended Vocals (track 15 [from 06:07:089 to 09:01:140]), Field Recordings (14)
Cinzia La Fauci – Ghosts’ Voices (track 8 [from 00:43:081 to 01:25:495])
Stefano Luigi Mangia – Extended Vocals (track 15 [from 06:09:782 to 07:12:642])
Massimo Silverio – Lead Vocals (track 8), Cello (8 & 9), Electric Guitar (9)
Paola Tagliaferro – All Mothers’ Voices (track 8 [from 0:11:371 to 0:32:362 & 03:03:293 to 03:25:955]), Zither (8 & 14)
Paola Tozzi – Vocals (track 17)
Vittorio Nistri – Synth, Electronics (tracks 15 & 17), Classical Guitar (15), Pre-Edit (15)
Stefano Giannotti – Synths (tracks 5 & 9), Electric Piano (9), Prepared Piano (7), Drums & Percussion (9), Harmonium (9)
Gianni Lenoci – Prepared Piano (track 5)
Camillo Pace – Double Bass (tracks 13 & 15)
Francesca Badalini – Grand Piano (tracks 4 & 16), Prepared Piano (4)
Andrea Grumelli – Fretless Bass, Bass Guitars (tracks 2,4 & 15)
Andrea Quattrini – Drums & Percussion, Electronics (tracks 4 & 7)
Stefano Ferrian – Electric Guitar (tracks 3 & 15)
Raoul Moretti – Electrified Harp (track 15)
Andrea Murada – Self-Built Percussion, Percussion from All Over the World (track 16)
Fabio Amurri – Piano (track 7)
Pierpaolo Spirangle Caputo – Electrified Self-Built Ghironda (tracks 4 to 16)
Mimmo Frioli – Drums, Percussion, Pre-Edit, Recording (tracks 3,10,11 & 12)
Giovanni D’ Elia – Bass Guitar (tracks 3,10,11 & 12)
Danilo Camassa – Classical & Electric Guitar (tracks 10,11 & 12)
Mauro Corvaglia – Electric Self-Built Guitar (track 3)
Domenico Liuzzi – Tenor Sax (tracks 3 & 15), Bassoon (15 & 16)
Max Pieretti – Synth (track 7 – closing section)
Fulvio Manganini – Stick (track 7)
Alessandro Palma – Drums (track 16)
Ulisse Tonon – Accordions (tracks 7 & 14), Electrified Accordion (14), Prepared Piano (14)
Sisto Palombella – Accordion (track 1)
Claudio Pirro – Electric & Acoustic Guitars (track 2)
Marco Lucchi – Mellotron (track 8)
Luca Olivieri – Glockenspiel (tracks 4 & 15)
Lorenzo Sempio – Guitars, Guitar Synth, Noises & Effects (tracks 1 & 8)
Jody Bortoluzzi – Synth, Suggestions (track 8)
Ivano Nardi – Drums & Percussion (track 15)
Franco Poggiali – Synth (track 17)
Daniele Onori – Electric & Acoustic Guitars (track 17)

Record Label: Snowdonia
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 11th September 2021

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