Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Marco Benevento Gets Some Nice Sounds Going

Categories can get tedious. Boring. To hell with them. Like for example there's Marco Benevento's new album Between the Needles and Nightfall (Royal Potato Family). It's Marco and his array of keys, his trio, and the full run of a studio. Benevento crafts a set of original pieces that capitalize on building a sound, a mix of the various sonances available to him with the keys, the effects and overdubs. What results is a very interesting instrumental presentation that is less directly centered around improvisation and more concerned with the ensemble blend. It has the thickness and aural depth of psychedelic rock soundscaping as practiced in recent times; but more straightforward and periodic in terms of song form. It also has a kind of tunefulness that will no doubt attract a larger audience.

I wouldn't call it "jazz" exactly. I wouldn't call it anything because it's pointless to do so. Innovative instrumental rockishness? Hear his trio live and you are apt to find Marco improvising lengthily in a more conventional jazz sense, with the trio adeptly dodging would-be brickbats from those who don't want their sacred categories mucked up with something ambiguous. The live situation gives you his trio in real time; Needles gives you the sound of Benevento in virtual time. Both are quite valid. Why shouldn't they be?

Between the Needles and Nightfall is all about music-making, about creating a large sound, very electronic in its manipulations but not derivative of drums n' bass or electronica. You don't get the trance riffs done ad nauseum or the stylized canned drums and electronic bass so fashionable a few years ago. What you do get is lots of melody, improvised and/or plotted out and arranged.

It's music. It makes for a good listen. Maybe to balance things off it's time next for a live trio date recording? That's of no matter. The point is, listen to this record without preconceptions and I think you will like it very much. Otherwise, it will not give you what you expect. Now that's really what an artist should do, isn't it? Give you something you didn't know you wanted?


  1. Well isn't that true? In future please confine your comments to the music or its ramifications. However, I will contemplate this nugget of wisdom while I sip my morning coffee.