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Slivovitz: Hubris

I quite enjoyed the last release from Moonjune that I reviewed (Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara's Upstream) but Silvovitz's Hubris lacked any real spark to differentiate it from dozens of other straight-ish jazz releases. Despite the name-dropping of Zappa as an influence, there was nothing on Hubris that reminded me of the man, perhaps with the exception of an eclecticism that not all artists venture to attempt. Even so, and despite a few pastiches on fusions with other "world music" styles, this disc comes across as lacking any real "progressiveness"; it comes across as straight jazz. It might well be that the music comes across better live than on disc but, as the band are Italian, I am unlikely to find out.

A bigger problem than exact genre definition was the lack of any discernable "soul" to the music. Hubris is flat jazz; the variety in arrangements flatter to deceive.

Ludovica Manzo is credited with "vocals" but there is only one "song" on Hubris; the snappily titled "Sono TRanquillo Eppurre Spesso Strillo (STRESS)". This also features a huge choir doing "Thomas Crown Affair"-style vocalisations and a calypso rhythm, following a rocky guitar opening. It doesn't gel. Elsewhere, there are vocalisations without words on a number of compositions but they add no beauty to the music.

"Caldo Bagno" features South African chanting and tom-tom drums before developing into traditional jazz and "Sig. M Rapito dal Vento" has a central European flavour courtesy of some accordion-sounding harmonica playing but neither of these shines brightly. Alto and tenor saxes, violin and vibraphone, as well as the more usual range of instruments, are the musical textures of this rather pale-coloured jazz. In fairness, the instruments are well played but listening to Hubris was like taking a thousand elevator journeys.

Track Listing:-
1) Zorn a Surriento (4:49)
2) Caldo Bagno (7:31)
3) Mangiare (5:40)
4) Errore di Parallasse (5:58)
5) Né Carne (4:02)
6) Né Pesce (4:32)
7) Dammi un Besh O (6:13)
8) CO2 (3:57)
9) Sono Tranquillo Eppurre Spesso Strillo (4:44)
10) Canguri in 5 (8:45)
11) Tilde (8:53)
12) Sig. M Rapito dal Vento (5:47)

Added: November 23rd 2009
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Band's Website
Hits: 2096
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Slivovitz: Hubris
Posted by Elias Granillo, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-11-24 13:51:50
My Score:

Starting with Domenico Angarano's opening two-bar bass figure, Hubris, by the Italian avant-progressive septet Slivovitz, weaves its serpentine caress around an array of musical indulgences that vacillate between exotic and neurotic. The quasi-Crimson flair of "Mangiare" steps forth with a snappy bass attack reminiscent of Tony Levin and a smattering of nonsense vocals displaced by Fender Rhodes piano and liquid sax squiggles from Pietro Santangelo.

The elegance of "Ne Carne" brings a decidedly ECM pathos to the album; Marcello Giannini's Metheny/Carlton-esque guitar and Angarano's fretless bass maintain a relatively straightforward sonic cartpath here, so that nothing strays to left of center. It's a very nice composition, immediately followed by the percussion-prevalent uptempo eclec-tricity of "Ne Pesce," powered by Santangelo's stage center sax lead. "Dammi Un Besh" ("Give [Me] A Kiss," obviously) counters its nonchalant title with some exquisite acoustic guitar; the guitar and sax unison is a nice touch. Other memorable tracks include the Middle Eastern vibe of "Canguri In 5"—a speedy guitar line & whistle characterize the antepenultimate cut— and "Sig. M Rapito Dal Vento" with its noticeably galactic lounge feel.

Though not as captivating as Demi Masa, the recent home run hit by MoonJune labelmates simakDialog, Hubris is destined for acclaim in avant-progressive circles and this band proves again why MoonJune is a rising star among independent labels that specialize in this sort of music.

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