CD: Ark Records [2005]

Intro (Captatio Benevolentiae)
My promise
... Di Parigi
Fantasia sui tasti bianchi
A guitar sounded like a lute
Le onde
Winds of fortune

The caesura after the relentless Intro will leave you gasping for breath, a little stunned, and squirming for more from this third album of Riccardo Prencipe, who as the epicenter of this album. Respiri, is Corde Oblique, a nest not just for his own creativity but for that of six instrumentalists in the field of neo-folk – perhaps the most familiar being those from the Italian dark folk act, Argine.

As a classical guitarist, one could be forgiven for premonitions of Riccardo conjuring virtuoso lines displaying technical flair and little else yet every track is far from a stringed masturbation. True, the guitar fingerstyle is insuperable but it begs distance by Riccardo’s dramatic composition, for he is a composer and it duly shows in the twining instrumentation that covers breadth and depth of Eastern under-glow with flamenco and jazz umbilicus. The plethora of vocalists – five – is deceptively integrated throughout the whole album, each vocal line and spoken word more instrument than a melodic or dominating lead, the listener will find it difficult to espy any anomalous presence from each of the contributors’ voice. Arching violins solo as much as the exquisite guitar lines, ornately spiraling clarinet swims inky depths, rigourous percussion hammer topography of sinuous rhythm, pizzicato piano ripple like utopian rain; no verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, end, to be found.

Where most collaborative efforts in the field of neo-folk tend to be slowly perishing bouquets, Corde Oblique is slick antithesis that deserves not to be sandwiched, forgotten among last years’ best but should be accessible to further enrich one’s listening pleasure with its ivied décor.

Fifteen tracks cover just over sixty minutes of high-fidelity music with the production having as much flourish and care committed to it as the composition. Released in a CD-slipcase with booklet of twenty pages.


[Ark Records]

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