MIKE CARATTI / RACHEL MUSSON / STEVE BERESFORD – Hesitantly Pleasant

Iluso

When you receive a prefatory email whose subject is the Italian translation of “kick ass” – as it happened in this circumstance – thinking twice prior to putting the message in the spam folder is required.

Behind that missive I found percussionist Mike Caratti – of evident Italian descent but hailing from Australia – sending signals of activity of his imprint Iluso (I don’t know if he actually meant “Illuso”, which in this reviewer’s native idiom means “deluded”, but what the hey).

There is indeed good music in the label’s catalogue. Hesitantly Pleasant represents a respectable display of what you can find in there. It’s a set of free improvisations sans rhetorical restrictions, performed with a mix of lucidity and introspectiveness by a trio of instrumentalists who appear to have discarded the intellectual component from the beginning.

And – like every record founded on fanciful cloudlessness – is hard to depict while avoiding the traps of nonsense.

A curious thing is, perhaps, my “innocence” in regard to the acquaintance with the participants: of the three, only Steve Beresford – here at his erratically romantic best – was known to me before. Besides Caratti, whose percussive conduct is subtly unruly so to speak, yours truly was also unfamiliar with the indubitable qualities of saxophonist Rachel Musson in spite of her curriculum.

That says a lot about the “never cease learning” commonplace which, in this particular house, constitutes one of the highest forms of truth. After having “learned”, though, I’m not feeling any less illiterate. Make no mistake, intuitive cognition remains a chimera for the miserable crumbles of nihility who enjoy opening the mouth for the sheer pleasure of “improving” themselves via absolute misconception.

At the end of the day, no better recommendation from here than listening with a head delivered from particular expectations. Inner plots and contrapuntal juxtapositions remain thoroughly clear across the entire program; surprises are not missing, however governable without exceptional efforts. Interplay of a pellucid variety, lacking that sense of tired disappointment typically conveyed by musicians exclusively interested in their own arses.

Try it several times, in different days. It’s excellent company, unobtrusive and incisive at once. Hearing acoustic emanations from people aware of what they’re really meaning is always an important exercise for the mind. As Supertramp would have it, even in the quietest moments.

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