Nick Castro


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
A Spy In The House Of God (2004), 6.5/10
Further From Grace (2005), 5.5/10
Come Into Our House (2006), 6/10
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Nick Castro is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter, a purveyor of psychedelic folk music who debuted with A Spy In The House Of God (Ghaud, 2004), a set of charming and surreal ballads scored for the eclectic timbres of ouz, harmonium, sax, xylophone, organ, etc. Further From Grace (Strange Attractors, 2005) boasts more elaborate arrangements, while retaining the same poetic quality. There is also a stronger rhythmic undercurrent and denser dynamics in Sun Song, drenched in a violin melody and electronic noises, Unborn Child, with the guitar strummed like a mandolin over sustained organ notes, the instrumental trumpet-driven Waltz for a Little Bird, and the exotic tour de force of eight-minute Deep Deep Sea, with Spanish trumpet and Middle-eastern percussion. The sequencing of the songs on the album alternates this embellished vignettes with more straightforward acoustic compositions such as the gentle Donovan-ian chant of To This Earth and the delicate breeze of Walk Like a Whisper. Frankly, the weakest link in Castro's music is... Castro's voice. The songs are not particularly original (given the huge body of psychedelic folk songs produced since the days of Pearls Before Swine) but they do display an intriguing combination of melody, rhythm and arrangement. Until Castro's plain whisper takes over. Then the "dejavu" element prevails over the "new take on acid folk" element.

Come Into Our House (Strange Attractors, 2006) further increased the exotic element in Castro's chamber orchestra, distancing him from the Incredible String Band (that was the too obvious reference point for the previous album), peaking with the nine-minute Voices from the Mountains.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Luigia De Fazio)

Nick Castro, cantautore di Los Angeles, portavoce della musica folk psichedelica, esordì con "A Spy in the house of God", un album dai toni magici e surreali.

"Further from grace" (Strange Attractors, 2005) rivela degli arrangiamenti più elaborati, conservando, allo stesso tempo, la stessa qualità poetica.

In "Sun Song" serpeggia una dinamica ed un ritmo più intenso, insieme a violino e suoni elettronici, in "Unborn Child" la chitarra richiama l’effetto acustico del mandolino e dell’organo, la tromba strumentale prevale in "Waltz for a little bird" e nell’esotico motivo di otto minuti "Deep deep sea" , in cui riecheggiano la tromba spagnola e percussioni medio-orientali.

Le canzoni contenute nell’album rivelano un’alternanza tra motivi amabili e motivi prettamente acustici come si evince da "To this earth", rievocante Ian Donovan e dalla delicata "Walk like whisper". Francamente, il punto più debole del repertorio di Castro è la sua voce.

Le canzoni non sono particolarmente originali ( considerando il vasto repertorio di musica folk psichedelica prodotta sin dai tempi di "pearls before swine"), tuttavia esprimono una combinazione interessante di melodia, ritmo e arrangiamenti. Sino a quando non irrompono toni più morbidi. Successivamente l’elemento "dejavu" prevarrà sul recente "acid folk".

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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