Ether: Really Swing Vol. 5
Really Swing

It's interesting that even though the fifth Really Swing installment has been handed over for this go-round from Quiroga (aka label overseer Walter Del Vecchio) to Ether, the sound of the recording is very much in line with the series' previous volumes: once again, the label has served up a mind-bending meal of crunked- and tripped-out head-nod, with this serving perhaps even more blunted than the others before it.

So who's Ether? Andrea Bracali and Francesco Bigazzi, two beatsmithers from Florence, Italy who operate under the names Colossius and Biga and whose heady style clearly dovetails with Really Swing's Free Thinking Adult Entertainment credo. It's true that things happen fast on the release, with eight cuts squeezed into its twenty-three minutes, but it's also true that Ether's material is quite happy to unspool at a laid-back pace, whether the track in question is the synth-soaked crunk of “Castagner,” the twisted “Sambadi,” or the guitar-inflected reverie “Deepfiba.” The comparatively clearheaded “Flyme,” on the other hand, moves more quickly in its blend of soulful swing, vocals, and delicate synthesizer washes (Ether's tune a poppy riff on Bart Howard's 1954 standard “Fly Me to the Moon”).

Dazed head-nodder “Beira” wends a teeter-tottering trail through some hazy strings-and-beats wilderness, while the collapsing rhythms of “Pupatales4” situate Ether at the center of a smoke-filled Jamaican studio for a severely splintered take on dub-reggae; the more conventional “Pupatales2,” by comparison, finds the musicians handling the material in more coherent manner. The set's a wild and wacky ride, one a tad broader in scope than previous Really Swing volumes but no less tripped-out for being so.

January 2013