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Nichelodeon - Bath Salts CD (album) cover

BATH SALTS

Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.56 | 16 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Bath Salts" is a double album release by Italian avant garde artist NichelOdeon. The album was released through Lizard Records in June 2013. "Bath Salts" was both released as a "stand alone" double album release, but also as a split box set release with "L'Enfant et le Ménure (2013)" (also a double album release) by fellow Italian avant garde act InSonar. NichelOdeon was founded in 1997 by singer/composer Claudio Milano and the early compositions of the project have been used during theatre shows, dance exhibitions, short feature films, video installations, performance and expositions, in the form of a recital entitled "The room plays what I do not see", but it wasn´t until 2007 that he added other musicians to the project and began releasing music.

"Bath Salts" is comprised of a varity of musical styles and features both original compositions and cover tracks of Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill and a cover of "(This Side of) The Looking Glass" by Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator). The music is centered around the passionate and skillfully executed (predominantly) Italian language vocals by Claudio Milano (there are occasional female vocals on the album too). His delivery is quite intense varying between whispering, screaming, semi-operatic parts and cabaret style singing/talking. There are lots of more "regular" sounding vocal sections in the music too, but the vocals are generally quite dramatic. The tracks are theatrical but mostly not in a bombastic epic fashion, but more in a storytelling type fashion, which of course works well within the concept album format of "Bath Salts" (lyrically about "cannibalism in interpersonal relationships"). For the most part the music is relatively accessible considering that NichelOdeon are usually considered an avant garde act. This is not easy listening material in any way though and you´ll almost surely find yourself challenged by the complexity and atmosphere of the compositions (a track like "Trittico 50 mg" is for example rather complex). The instrumenation are for the most part subtle. There´s sparse use of percussion, so mostly it´s string instruments playing with vocals on top. There´re occasional use of piano and flute too.

The musicianship is clearly on a very high level. Some of the things that Claudio Milano does with his voice are not heard very often and requires great skill. The rest of the players are obviously skilled too. "Bath Salts" also feature a very well sounding production and overall it´s a quality release. Unfortunately my limited knowledge of the Italian language (which is pretty much limited to ciao, grazie and pizza) results in me missing the lyrical message and with music this focused on vocals and lyrics, that´s of course a bit of an issue when evaluating the album. I´m still fully able to enjoy the album, but I can´t help feeling like I´m missing a crucial part of the musical puzzle. So bearing that in mind my 3.5 star (70%) rating is to be taken with a grain of salt.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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