SCOOLPTURES – Materiale Umano


Scoolptures: a triad of Italians (bassist-cum-metallophone Nicola Negrini, reedist Achille Succi and sinewave wizard Antonio Della Marina) augmented by French drummer Philippe Garcia. Three of them utilize live electronics, doing it with intelligence to spare. In actuality, the whole of Materiale Umano sounds like a shrewdly conceived project, testifying about how often brilliant recordings lie dormant under the blankets of indifference and scarce media hype, while absolute nonentities – more able to market a self-attributed genius – receive privileges and exposure. The nonconformist attitude of this quartet is expressed through sonorities that owe something – not everything – to artists such as Ned Rothenberg (an evident influence on the way in which bass clarinet, alto sax and shakuhachi are employed by Succi) and, in spite of the lack of keyboards, to early Wayne Horvitz. Dave Petts and Adrian Northover’s Remote Viewers also came to mind, if just during brief flashes. But there’s a lot of distinctive personality in what we heard. Initial ideas are gently but relentlessly manumitted, retaining melodic incisiveness and non-compliant hooks even when the commingling of diverse components appears to represent a sure path towards utter dissolution. A proper groove and a touch of well-regulated abstractness can work magnificently when the musicians know the right time to stop; indeed these guys do not prolong anything more than the strict necessary, investigating a wide gamut of milieus with a blend of cunning nosiness and expert control on the sonic structure’s mechanisms. The admirable balance between acoustic and electronic hues is the eventual decisive factor for the endorsement of this secreted little gem.

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