Illachime Quartet is one of those bands who, always being faithful to their experimental nature, never completely endorse a genre or style and tirelessly crawl through the underground, breathing new life into the creative musical life of southern Italy. Soundtrack (for parties on the edge of the void) – with its collaborative nature – features nineteen other musicians and technicians in addition to the original quartet, giving us a taste of one possible side of the important network that this band helped establish.
The album is divided into two main parts that the band call easy pieces and uneasy pieces. There being five tracks in each part, the reference to the cult movie Five Easy Pieces is quite direct and the first five pieces (the easy ones) are in fact a very interesting re-work of original soundtracks that the band wrote for movies and documentaries through the years.
Musically speaking the “easy” pieces are not easy at all! Or we could say that, despite being easier than the uneasy pieces to listen to, they unveil a rather deep complexity in terms of composition and arrangement. Recovering elements that are too often considered absolutely inappropriate in the contemporary music / free improvisation world, such as steady four-on-the-floor beats, pentatonic scales, full brass sections hits, and readapting them to a cinematic pace, they create a heterogeneous, yet coherent, melange of sounds that reminds us of some of pop souled releases by Jim O’Rourke, Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Here is where the word “Soundtrack” really come into play, as these pieces provide a lot of visual inputs and shape an abstract imagery without suggesting any interpretation, leaving us the freedom to listen and interact.
Such “intelligent pop” identity is then modified but not completely lost in the uneasy pieces section. The five tracks and the outro here are extracted from improvisation sessions and appear maybe less complex, as the sound flows relentlessly start-to-finish in each piece, but with a higher degree of muscular intensity and exotic mystery.
Listening to this record It is very hard to say what sections have been composed and what were improvised, as the rhythmic reference of the drums always provides a structure of some sense. Discarding a totally abstract dimension for their fourth studio work, Illachime Quartet have devised a very interesting operation that affords possible solutions for the casual listener as well as the dedicated one, staying true to their radical experimental nature.
Giuseppe Pisano, 13 luglio 2019