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Nichelodeon - UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) CD (album) cover

UKIYOE - MONDI FLUTTUANTI (WITH INSONAR)

Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.29 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
5 stars Both NICHELODEON and InSONAR are projects initiated by the vocal star of the show Claudio Milano who created these projects to be large collectives designed to revolve around a rotating cast of avant-proggers who want to create some most unconventional music. NICHELODEON dates back to 1997 while InSONAR only began in 2010. On this collaborative affair the two collectives merge to bring us some of the most fluid and visceral music i have ever heard. This is one of the most complex albums i have ever listened to and likewise one of the most difficult to review. Everything about this album demands extreme diligence in paying attention to the details. Even the titles are complex! This album is officially a collaborative release called UKIYOE (MONDI FLUTTANTI) / QUICKWORKS & DEADWORKS. The artists are NICHELODEON with InSONAR and FRANCESCO PALADINO. Let me clarify this for you. This is a double release that contains one CD and one DVD. The CD musical journey is performed by NICHELODEON with InSONAR and it is titled UKIYOE (MONDI FLUTTANTI) while the DVD part was created by FRANCESCO PALADINO and is titled QUICKWORKS & DEADWORKS.

The theme of the whole project actually revolves around water. Water is the focus because it such a main component of all of life and the main constituent that allows our planet to sustain it. This work is chock full of symbology and once i inquired into the subtler meanings i was bombarded with all kinds of analogies, proverbs and unlikely influences. Worry not for you don't have to understand all of this to enjoy this music but it does allow you to explore as deeply as you wish. Putting that into the context of water, you can either choose to merely skim the shallow shores and only get your feet wet or if you are brave enough you can plunge into the deepest recesses of the the oceanic trenches where only bio-illuminating creatures break the cold abysmal monotony.

Claudio has explained to me that these musical expressions were created in the 2013-14 time continuum when he experienced profound insight and spent an entire month creating the accompanying beautiful paintings and illustrations that grace front, back, the inside and out with a whole little booklet included. Everything on this release is tied to the overall theme starting with the visual art itself. The jellyfish serve as an omen of how beauty can be dangerous, fragile and most of all fleeting, which brings us to the title of the album.

The title of the album UKIYOE comes from UKIYO MONOGATARI which is a concept that was put out in the first works of Asai Ryōi (浅井 了意?, c. 1612 ? January 29, 1691) who was a Bhuddist priest in the early Edo period in Japan. UKIYO is the concept that life is transitory and nothing lasts forever and that one's energy must be put into lasting spiritual matters that would continue on to the next life. I see the jellyfish as representing the beauty of the physical world but the dangers of handling matters in the wrong way can leave you wounded and scarred with precious energies wasted and a spiritual stinging. The imagery of the jellyfish and impressionist artwork lends well to the music at hand with its often ethereal and ability to evoke a sort of liquid conscious response to its fluidity and rhythmic drifting hither and tither like a jellyfish at the mercy of the tides. The music itself seems to follow the same ebbs and flows only in the sonic ethers of music.

The music was constructed in a most ambitious way. Each member created his/her own arrangement for each track with Claudio Milano acting as the conductor as well as avant-opera star. The tracks were mixed with the contributions of the acting members in order to create the larger-than-life kaleidoscope of sound that this music exudes. On board with this project are several musicians with an interactive orchestra that amounts to over 30 individuals. The music is really hard to pigeon-hole into any particular category and is fairly eclectic but there is a strong underlying theme of both Mediterranean cafe music with a heavy use of traditional accordion sounds, classical opera and on the wilder sides can conjure up Henry Cow, early King Crimson and even some jazz, electronica, drones and percussive outbursts that find their way into the mix. The music tends to begin the album on the more accessible side and ends with a kind of Krautrock chaotic ending.

Each track is filled with complex life experiences dealing with all kinds of human experiences that tend to be quite difficult. For example:

1 Veleno (Poison) is a tale of a failed son who wants to die but cannot bring himself to suicide for love of his parents so he turns to the fantasy world to escape life's disappointments

2 Fi(j)¨ru d'Acqua (Flower/Son of Water) takes lyrics from a Rilke poem and deals with concept of nature as benign and creator of all beauty.

3 Marinaio (Sailor) deals with the concept of needing to kill in order to survive and how promises can become betrayal.

4 Ohi MÓ - Nel Mare che hai Dentro ? (Oh Mother! About the Sea you have Inside) is about the reduction of dreams and dignity to mere economics in order to survive in a world where everything has become a market commodity. This track is sung in a local dialect of Southern Italy.

5 I Pesci dei tuoi Fiumi (The Fish of your Rivers) is taken from Ezekiel in the Old Testament where God is described as the Bringer Of Abundance.

6 MA(r)LE is the agglutination of "Mar (sea)" and "Male (evil)" in Italian and represents the sea as a bearer of death as an uncontrollable fury such as experienced by the shipwrecked people in the short DVD film that accompanies the disc.

Ah, now for the film! It is a short one at just over 26 minutes. It is tied in to the overall theme of the music and is presented in a surreal detached manner. In this regard it reminds me of "Eraserhead" in the fact that there are long dramatic pauses accompanied by TV narration and just plain strangeness! It starts with two couples, one older and one younger staring at the boat that they had to dock because of a reported storm. They decide to wait it out in one section of a castle i presume. The next twenty minutes or so shows them mostly staring at each other but interacting in strange ways. I have only seen this once and it obvious there's all kinds of subtext to it all. The dialogue is minimal with most talk being from a TV narration about snakes! It is very surreal to say the least. Claudio's vocal acrobatics pop in from time to time with some accordion music. I was originally unable to view the DVD because of those damned regional variations that prevent us in North America from viewing European DVDs but Claudio was gracious enough to convert it to a file i could download. Grazie :)

All i can say is this is one strange album but it has more than enough to reel you in instantly and then keep you hooked by constantly unleashing new surprises. It is as murky as the turbulent ocean and as placid as an alpine lake. The interaction of the musicians is impeccable and the orchestral cooperation is on the highest level of professionalism. I will have to count this one as a slow burner and one that gets better the more i experience it. Claudio has the vocal range of Celine Dion but the creative display of Mike Patton. The accompanying vocalists seem to dance together in the sonic dance floor and the instrumentation can create the most pleasant and addictive melodies or act as the musical equivalent of a tsunami crashing against the shores sweeping all life and structures out to sea. While i can't say i comprehend every aspect of the symbology i have learned about this release, i can say that i have been really enjoying this one a lot lately and since this is my very experience of anything by NICHELODEON or InSONAR i have high hopes that there is much more intricate creativity just bursting out in other releases. Highly recommended.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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