Giancarlo Vulcano - Vetro
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Giancarlo Vulcano

If I had to distill Vetro down to a single word review, I would simply say that it is "charming." That, of course, doesn't really do it justice, as this eight song, fifty-minute release is much more than that. Composed by New Yorker Giancarlo Vulcano (who has worked with Hollywood composer Howard Shore) and performed by Vulcano and musicians from the Brooklyn new music series, it's minimal-leaning music that favors repeated, sometimes simple phrases that come together in often unexpected and beguiling ways.

Within the album itself, there are motifs that repeat as well. "Portrait of Arthur Rimbaud" opens the release with just under ten minutes of intertwined piano melodies that dance off one another delightfully, while "Portrait Of Richard Manuel" takes a similar melody and cadence and marries it to a couple of desert-dry guitars, turning the jaunty piano escapade into a chiming, almost western-influenced piece. Likewise, "3 X 3, No. 2" and "3 X 3, No. 1" are connected by loose, bluesy guitar playing, but the latter mingles in some violin to takes it in a completely different direction.

Even better are later pieces. "Piano Death Theme" walks a solo piano up and down a haunting stepladder while teetering on the brink of atonality. "Music For Fish Tanks" is even more weightless, with several curling clarinet melodies weaving and winding around one another in spellbinding manner. Even the arrival of "Self Portrait" at the end of the release (which blends the melodies from the two other "portrait" tracks into a sort of trip-hop track) can't throw things off, as playful analogue synths gurgle up out of the remains of clarinet breaths. In the end, Vetro isn't exactly groundbreaking, but in a world of sometimes overly serious minimal music, it's a breath of fresh air.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2008-04-17 20:45:36