Squadra Omega

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

Rennes Le Chateau (2008), 7.5/10 (EP)
Tenebroso (Holidays, 2009), 7.5/10 (EP)
Squadra Omega(2010), 6.5/10 (mini)
Le Nozze Chimiche (2011), 6/10 (mini)
Altri Occhi Ci Guardano (2015), 7/10

Italian all-instrumental collective Squadra Omega crafted luminous psych-rock jams, starting with the calm, steady, geometric 20-minute piece of the EP Rennes Le Chateau (2008), whose solid drumming and cosmic guitars hark back to the age of Iron Butterfly and early Pink Floyd whereas the free-jazz interlude evokes Nucleus and the final atmospheric twang-tinged exploration sounds inspired by western movie soundtracks; and continuing with the 20-minute piece of the EP Tenebroso (Holidays, 2009), initially a hypnotic jazzy jam a` la Necks, a viscous fluid that slowly rises in density and temperature, which then morphs into a sort of gloomy version of the electrical Miles Davis, and which then starts swinging like vintage big-band music of the 1940s, and which then turns into a driving motorik crescendo enhanced with squeaking horns.

The mini-album Squadra Omega (Holidays, 2010) contains cute but naive ideas like the massive minimalist horn fanfare Hemen - Hetan and Ermete , in which mysterious chamber drones blossom into a slow-rising psychedelic guitar jam. Its highlight is, however, the 16-minute Murder In The Mountains, another long-distance journey in psychedelic lands that roughly follows the outline of Rennes Le Chateau: a dense rocking section followed by free-form jamming and by an atmospheric cinematic coda (in this case a sort of zombie fanfare).

The mini-album Le Nozze Chimiche (Macina Dischi, 2011) contains the eight-minute Avviso Agli Imprudenti, a noisy blues-rock jam at a slow, stoner pace which, unlike past efforts, retains its identity from beginning to ending; the faux country and western piece Murder In The Country (soon derailed by wildly dissonant free-jazz horn improvisation); and the granitic march Utriusque Cosmi II.

Throughout these pieces one can hear echoes of Soft Machine, Matching Mole, Neu, Can and many other protagonists of the prog-rock revolution of the 1970s.

The metaphysical double-EP Altri Occhi Ci Guardano (2015) is littered with rhythm-less pieces such as the horror soundscape of Il Buio Dentro and a concentrate of electronic suspense like La Nube di Oort that are hardly representative of the rest. Even less emblematic are the simple guitar watercolors of Hyoscyamus and Le Rovine Circolari, but it all helps disorient the listener. Rhythms are as elusive and misleading as it gets. The robotic Caribbean ballet Sospesi nell'Oblio is lifted by a psychedelic guitar solo that evokes the Doors' organ solo in Light My Fire but that turns instead into a comic flamenco whirlwind. The noir-boogie beat that opens the 13-minute Il Labirinto is hijacked by tropical snake-like saxophone phrasing and ends up into a hysterical version of a Jon Hassell-ian "forth-world" swamp. Hypnosis wraps up Sepolto Dalle Sabbie Del Tempo, four minutes of a flickering and fibrillating polyrhythm. The meaning gets more obscure and ominous as the longer compositions unwind: the 12-minute fantasia Il Grande Idolo begins with chaotic free-jazz noise but then shifts into minimalist repetition and this grows into a grotesque, demonic dance; and finally the synth intones a folkish singalong. Funk-jazz syncopation propels the laid-back 12-minute shuffle Altri Occhi Ci Guardano, and for a few minutes we are allowed to suspect that there was nothing more than lightweight entertainment behind their mysterious structures, but then a blend of stoned guitar wails, wasp-like saxophone squeals and bass synth drones disrupts the party and we're left, yet again, in musical no man's land.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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