Umber (Obs Music; 2012)
Tonino Taiuti (guitars)
Vincenzo de Luce (trumpet; electronics)
Crafting harmonies from nowhere is what improvisation is all about. But the duo Zero Centigrade seems to make it an easy habit. With Umber, their third release, they yet again conjured up sounds and moods that are haunting, inviting and beautiful.
Silence and the search of sound tend to make up the structure of each Zero Centigrade project. And this manifests itself early on "Tumble Down," where sudden bursts of acoustic one notes alongside stretches, creaks and found noise slowly break into your psyche like a bad nightmare.
"A Strange Season I" showers with the continued influence the blues has had on the duo. Slow patterns emerge but always evolving around Taiuti's heart tugging yet distant melody. Raw, emotional and still forward thinking. Imagine if American alt-blues guitarist Chris Whitley played with Throbbing Gristle (I sure hope some of you get that).
The inward nature of "Stalk" and "Reflections" makes for a compelling listen. You will hear the strains of forgotten notes passing between each musician. "Far Horizon" feels distant and aching. Propelled by de Luce's superb use of electronics and Taiuti almost folkish improvisation this piece travels a long way very quickly before fading.
Another stellar almost "third-stream" outing for Zero Centigrade that shows a continued growth and desire to see what soundscapes they can capture in a short period of time. Umber is an album that won't treat you nicely unless you let it. The beauty lies in the details. Not designed for everyone but you will find elements that will affect you in different ways. Worth seeking out.