Dom Mino': Unknown Coordinates
Schole Records

Unknown Coordinates, the sophomore outing from London resident Domenico Mino,' is a more extroverted and exuberant affair than the Schole Recordings norm. Admittedly, the forty-five minute follow-up to Time Lapse exudes its fair share of the label's elegance and melodic sweetness but also invests it with a lively spirit not generally heard on the typical Schole outing. While some of the pieces perfectly fit the Schole template (such as “Corner of Memories,” a lyrical waltz for piano and strings), others offer a surprise or two. I didn't expect to hear uptempo Latin-jazz, for example, when I put on the disc, though the mix of vibes, drums, and contrabass in “Cartaforbicesasso” is certainly ear-catching enough. One might describe the opening “Liquid Architecture” as kaleidoscopic electronic-IDM when a swaying IDM pulse is brightened with synthetic colour and a Boards of Canada-styled synth motif.

Even so, the album's general style is more folktronica than anything else. A collaboration with paniyolo, “Shiroi” arranges cooing vocals, acoustic guitar, beats, and a gorgeous melodica line into a soothing and lightly funky take on the genre, while “Tilo,” the serenading electronica collaboration with Argentinean sound artist Federico Durand that immediately follows, is just as charming. If there appears to be a greater amount of trademark Schole lyricism infusing “Goodbye, Summer Rain -U.C edit-” that might be explained by the fact that the track is actually a new version of Akira Kosemura's “Good Bye, Summer Rain” (presumably it's Mino' who's responsible for injecting the tune's wistfulness with rhythmic drive). The closing title track likewise unites the talents of Kosemura and Dom Mino' by pairing the former's piano playing with the latter's beatsmithing and contrabass work. Such moments clearly identify Unknown Coordinates as a Schole recording, despite its occasional deviation from the label norm.

June 2010