Piero Bittolo Bon / Lorenzo Binotti / Mirco Ballabene / Massimiliano Furia

July 13, 2021

Right to Party

Niafunken NFKO 14

Mirco Ballabene says his music is a blend of total improvisation with extended instrumental techniques joined to metric structures and timbric research plus electronics processing. Happily the four pieces created by the Italian bassist whose titles have a political dimension are less ponderous than these definitions. The performances by the bassist, pianist Lorenzo Binotti, percussionist Massimiliano Furia and saxophonist/clarinetist Piero Bittolo Bon fluctuate enough to promote swing over severity.

Electronics move from earlier inferences as buzzing undercurrents to the foreground during the extended “A rubber boat in a dark sea” that concludes the set. But the processed wave form crackles, whooshes and sizzles, serve purely as a bridge between Binotti’s introductory low-key plinks and Furia’s disconnected ruffs and rebound and a concluding inflation of Bon’s initial hard-blowing clarion tones and his abstract, throbbing twitters, trills and an elevated reed screech.

The alto saxophonist harmonizes with the bass on that track. But Ballabene’s stentorian strokes are more prominent elsewhere, especially in the thickened sul tasto strums that introduce “All the weapons we are”. Synthesized drones and kinetic keyboard swills are also heard, but stoicism is undercurrent by a mid-section that bounces with all the jollity of a song performed by village banda. Ranging through expositions and resolutions, the quartet members’ technical skills are consistently exhibited. But such tropes as the pianist’s dynamic chording, key stopping and hard slaps at the bottom range or the bassist’s sawing and stropping arco variations or spiccato patterns from scroll to spike are logically used to connect with or introduce other players’ sequences. In the same way intense glossolalia or sour split tones projected from both of Bon’s reeds on “Beyond the walls of EU fortress” slice through processed drones, percussion strokes and a slick bass line. Overall vibrations harmonize projecting continuity along with technical eruptions. Not as avant garde as its composer imagines, but no complacent mainstream rerun either, this party-project is memorable for the outstanding sounds created.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. All the weapons we are 2. The Mouse, the Clown and the Naked Child 3. Beyond the walls of EU fortress 4. A rubber boat in a dark sea

Personnel: Piero Bittolo Bon (alto saxophone, clarinet, electronics); Lorenzo Binotti (piano, electronics); Mirco Ballabene (bass, electronics) and Massimiliano Furia (drums, percussion, objects)