(2019 - Soleil Mutant - France)
Just over 52 minutes in 11 songs, giving the listener even more variety, sheer inventiveness, unique avant-Garden of Eden, a fine dose of quirkiness that bobbles from Zappa, Transister (R. J. Stips fame), and Nick Mason's "Fictitious Sports", and that is all in just cuts 1-5. All in superb formation, composed in perfection, singing and chattering between male and female vocalists, beautifully spread vibes ala Pierre Moerlen's Gong (RIP Pierre), and even more so like Benoit Moerlen (Pierre's younger brother and exceptional vibraphone player). A bit less aggressive then their debut 'Everyday Mythology' (2015) only in that 'Hey Weirdo!' is more refined and smooth much of the time.
Jacopo Costa (vibes, drums, samples, drum & synthesizer programming, and vocals) is the mastermind of this savory release (and the band itself), who is an Italian musician who relocated to France. Some may know him from his work with Yugen, Camembert, Factor Burzaco, Empty Days, and Not a Good Sign. With Loomings, on this 2nd release, he also composed, arranged, and produced everything except 'Cerchi'' (which includes theme of 'Central Park West' by John Coltrane. Also 'Maphia Migrante' is noted in the title track 'Hey Weirdo', as including a sample from a unreleased album by Alessio Vitale.
Much respect and adoration for Costa being a drummer/percussionist/composer/multi platform musician, and one can tell the exquisite rhythmic and floral arrangements were done by such. Helping him make this supreme recording were: Maria Denami - voice / Clara Weil - voice / Nils Boyny - keyboards / Nicolas Klee - bass / Enrico Pedicone - vibraphone, drums, acoustic and electronic percussion / Romain Muller - sound engineer / and guest musicians: Bertrand Eber - trumpet / Nicolas Jean - trombone / JB Juszczak - alto sax / Paul Schwartz - tenor sax / and lastly, Remi Psaume - baritone sax.
By song 6, ('Hypnotic') things get a bit more serious with what could be imagined as a mix of theatrical jazz of what Mantler, Carla Bley, and even parts of Annette Peacock blended with a more jazz/earnest Catherine Jauniaux and Dagmar Krause, with the jolly Gruppo Sportivo might sound like, all blended together. The two female vocalists Maria Denami and Clara Weil make sure of of that (who are not only classically trained, but dominate the vocal department here, only sharing occasional male vocals with Jacopo Costa himself. Just as a song establishes a style, a distinct change in character may occur. 'Cerchi' begins with a solo piano, then adds vibes, for the first all instrumental cut on the platter. As mentioned, this includes the Coltrane theme. What a wonderful change of mood, and as soothing as can be. But watch out for some absurdity in brilliant colors with the next (and title) track 'Hey Weirdo!'. Back to the all so incredible Zappa/R. J. Stips/Slapp Happy and beyond world. A killer composition in that French/Italian avant-garde rock that never ceases to amaze and delight.
The richness continues on the following two cuts. Then with a striking Robert Wyattish ending 'Wonder and Delusion' (track #11), where Costa begins with vocals, then gives the way to a continued masterful basket of pure gold. It truly brings the house to its feet and demands endless applause. In fact, the entire album is instantly on my TOP CHOICES of 2019 list. Looming have stepped up the high ladder on their 2nd offering (and their first one was great), with painstaking devotion to making an unforgettable and magnificent opus. EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 5 - 25 - 2019