Mario Masullo & Andrea Gabriele: Les Coleurs ne meuvent pas les peuples

In what is clearly a bit of a departure for the techno-oriented Persistencebit label, Symbiosis Orchestra members Mario Masullo and Andrea Gabriele collaborate on a scenic excursion into ambient electronica. In general terms, the music produced by Italian sound designer and composer Gabriele ranges from experimental to disco, while the playing field of Rome-based sound artist Masullo is equally broad, encompassing as it does minimal techno, dub, and experimental music. In the Symbiosis Orchestra context, Masullo and Gabriele are credited with computer, drum machines, keyboards, guitar, and bass but they expand on that sound palette considerably on Les Coleurs ne meuvent pas les peuples (The Colours do not move the peoples). The forty-eight-minute release presents a rich and typically laid-back blend of jazz, Latin, soul, and electronics that's closer in spirit to song-based pop than free-form experimental music. Masullo and Gabriele sprinkle the tracks with acoustic and electric guitars, hushed vocals, analogue synthesizers, woodwinds, electric piano, and drums, and even manage to work in trombone, flute, and a blaring trumpet at particular moments. A synthesizer solo chirps in Zawinul-like manner during “Underclouds” while subtle shadings of Spanish guitar appear in the languorous “Breathless.” The material ranges from relaxed to upbeat, and for every dream-like setting (the beatless lullaby “Fantastic Trees” and the lilting, synthetic wonderland “Outdoor Mantra”), there's a foray into Latin-tinged swing (“What's Love”). Representative of the album as a whole is “Few Birds” whose laid-back electronic soul-jazz features murmuring voices alongside bright analogue synthesizers and an ascending shuttle of shoegaze guitars. Elsewhere, “Dub In Blue” offers a bubbly blend of Latin, electronics, and jazz while “Yes I Wanna Do It!” mixes synth-heavy jazz fusion, Latin-funk rhythms, and gravelly voice-over into a trippy whole. A four-minute hidden track of windswept ambient vapours appears at album's end, perhaps meant as a subtle wink and nod to the style of music one might normally associate with the two producers.

March 2009