A billowing current of energetic, fuzzy Post-Rock surges effortlessly from the softest touches of music and meanders through gushes of musical distortion. The trio of Paolo Cirillo, Gianluca Zannone and Libero Verardi knows how to fuse guitar, drums, and bass to create impeccable musical art as a way to develop the ideas behind their music.
If the forerunners of the Post-Rock genre cast a glance over the ripples their crescendos have caused, behind the wave crests they will discover a rip current of music by bands causing a strong undertow and finding new ways the timbre of their genre might flow further. Certainly, this band is exploring new ways to push the genre while keeping the special the timbre we love to recognize.
One of the interesting feats of this album is the absence of a vast usage of electronics and synths and the minimal use of tremolo from the guitar. The way the guitar is somewhat set to fuzz creates the image of reaching out far ahead when the music rises and widens out its swirling engaging melodic themes. The drums range from slight open soundscapes to the most explosive outbursts with double takes on the tom-toms that take up much of the space, almost as if the drum fill in for absent vocals. The bass foundations do not follow the drum as often as usual laying the base for the melody, sometimes even performing it, opening the grooves for the music to fall into. It all becomes a low-frequency audio force.
Subtle riffs open the first track ”Noesi” swirling around each other introducing a low-end bass playing a slow melody beneath. Then the drums take charge and the pace sets off faster with the guitar repeating melodic lines and riffs . The drums double take on the tom-toms, holding the pace on the snare drum while the bass makes deep grooves and the music follows in its tracks. Then the music arches, the bass dipping deeper and the guitar widens out the sonics while the bass keeps long slow takes and the snare drum dampens the pace. The guitar is now free to soar with enchanting melodic phrases. Pushing to the end of the track with higher pitches, and swirling repetitive melodic themes, the music comes to a halt. It takes a deep breath and plunges deep into heavier sounds with revolving guitars above the low-end bass.
The second track, ”Epochè” evolves through its eight minutes from finger picking on a clear six-string with a strumming guitar in the distance to a surge of translucent music that flows forward with low-end bass, double takes on the drum and high-pitched shivering guitars penetrating the sound. The complex texture of meandering layers and the low-end bass pushes the music forward as the sonics get broader and intensive. A tremolo appears just to be overtaken by the finger-picking again. The texture and structure of the title track are impressive. The band states that the musical ideas revolve around the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl’s studies indicating the suspension of judgment; to get to the truth, you need to suspend your opinion and rely only on objective scientific data. “Right what we really need today”, one is tempted to add.
”Melograno” opens prudent with all the instruments, a soft take on drum and bass while the guitars find their place in the well-written melodic theme by strumming towards higher pitches. When the instruments find their direction, the music loosens up and flows forward with an enchanting melodic theme. For a moment it fades away to lift up the next part of the track with diverse drumming and repetitive bass to support a looping fuzzy guitar as the tempo increases before another release into a glissading and shimmering soundscape.
The album continues with ”The Sound Garden”, a tribute to the Italian sculptor Pinuccio Sciola whose most famous work might be his limestone sculptures, “Pietre Sonore (sounding stones)”, that resonate when the hands rub them. These resonating sounds are probably what opens the song before a low-end bass emerges and makes the song heavy. The track develops into an extremely exciting piece of music and it is closing in on avant-garde music with tremolos, effects, and melodic themes buried deep in the layers. Distorted guitars and sound effects embrace the bass and rich, deep, complex drums. The music is at some point in a floating structure and at another point in staccato patterns.
Throughout the album there is a sense that the music becomes heavier, more energetic, and denser. Although ”Thymos” opens with loose jazzy drums, there are bass, strumming and a high pitched guitar hovering above the other instruments as they dip into heavier realms. The track has its nice twists and turns with a fusing surge of music as the bass makes out the heaviness while the distorted and fuzzy yet translucent guitars hover above. The music takes a breath before a new glissading part with bright sound is driven forward with dips into heavy and dense music where the higher-pitched guitar lifts the music from. It ends with immense hard drumming driving a short and fast crescendo rushing into the guitar picking that opens the last track on the album, ”Noema”.
This nine-minute closer is a diverse piece of Post-Rock music, where the guitar sometimes takes second chair from the drums which swerve from gentle to intense, from discreet to dramatic. The bass picks up the pace and the guitars find a melodic theme to follow as it swirls forward. Toward the end, the music begins to glide upward with a distorted guitar taking the lead and the other instruments riding along. The drumming, although soft, is fast and intense as the music slowly rises with the melody from the glissading shifts from the guitars. As a listener, you feel the urge to hum along to the end.
On their sophomore album, The Black Garden Circus have delivered on the delightful promises from their first album and expanded not only their own musical realm but also showed new avenues for the Post-Rock genre to explore. Sadly, this review is written in memory of the band´s guitarist Paolo Cirillo who is not among us anymore. He joined the great gig in the sky earlier this year. In Paolo´s memory, this album is a free download over at Bandcamp. So go there and spread the word about the new album.