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After Music From Memory brought overlooked Italian ethno-musicologist Roberto Musci into the contemporary consciousness via an excellent retrospective, Soave step in with a full reissue series. First came 'the complete sessions' of "The Loa Of Music", Musci's debut album from 1984, and now we have 1988 milestone "Urban & Tribal Portraits". A key collaboration with fellow sidereal world traveler Giovanni Venosta, which sees the duo create a sonic ecosystem that is both aleatory and concrete, ephemeral and durable.
Like much Italian experimental music from that magical decade of the 80s this is not your bog standard fourth world music, marred by the ambiguous aestheticism of ‘unifying’ some not so well defined primitivism of ‘world ethnic styles’ with the futuristic sounds of whatever ‘advanced electronic techniques’ were the platter du jour. Here the 8-bit sounds of the E-Mu Emax is as primitive as the Jews Harp while the electronically treated Pygmy chants turn out to be as futuristic as the multi-timbral capacities of the OB-8. From the funk ostinatos of “El Lamento de Los Ayatollah” where Venosta showcases his straight piano playing to the rarefied queer guitar arpeggios in “Tamatave”, the peaceful ripples in “Dialogue Between a Dreamer and Others”, the playfulness of “Starfish & Kangaroos” or the post-punkish This Heat/Cabaret Voltaire aggression in “The Fear of a Soldier” this is destabilization as praxis, a shifting of the ground. The new cover image, that replaces the ethno patchwork of the original sleeve (beautiful as it was) is indeed more to the point: Sven Hedkin’s photograph of early 20th century Tibetan death masks is at once urban and tribal, surrealist in its uncanniness.
A1. Lilongwe 29.2.52 Radio Concert Hall
A3. The Fear Of A Soldier
A4. Dialogue Between A Dreamer And Others
A5. Batida De Coca
A6. Rackrailway To...
B1. The Ups & Downs Of Chewing Gum
B2. Tower Of Silence
B3. El Lamento De Los Ayatollah
B4. Starfishes & Kangaroos
B5. Djakarta Blues
B6. Lullabies... Mother Sings... Father Plays…