UR– by Accordo dei Contrari

Release date: November 19, 2021
Label: Cuneiform Records

For 22 years, Italian maestros Accordo dei Contrari have been bringing the music of jazz fusion, progressive music, and elements of the rock in opposition movement (RIO) in unexpected landscapes. Their sound is like walking into a volcanic eruption that has startled listeners and would make them shit their pants like no other!

That and their latest release UR– from the Cuneiform label proves that the group still has that energetic force inside their blood. It’s quite an electrifying pulse that has you stomach hit very hard with a hardcore punch. There is the energy, complex textures, insane changes, and brutal ominous approach that will keep you on a roller-coaster ride you’ll never forget.

And to be allowed to have Udi Koomran handling the master of the album, which he had done their previous albums; AdC and Violato Intatto, he lets the band know that he’s got their back on the production whenever they need his help. And Udi has done one hell of a job to bring UR – to life.

From the moment the opening track ‘Tergetse’ begins, you are embarking on this action-packed movie being brought to life on the silver screen. With its lullaby-sque introduction done by Parmeggiani on the Steinway piano, you get a feel of a new dawn approaching over the horizon.

It suddenly changes as each of the band members rev up their engines to get going. You can feel the snarling chord changes between Maracas and Franchi’s drum work setting up this flaming kerosene to come out of the caves. And then, it goes into uncharted territories between King Crimson and Captain Beefheart.

 

Almost as if they are working together as a team by creating more chaotic ideas for him on Trout Mask Replica and Lick my Decals Off, Baby. But as the beast takes a breather, ‘Cosi respirano gli incendi del tempo (Thus they breathe, time fires)’ is a nod to the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire-era. The eruption on those wacky time signatures in the first section of the composition, gives a sense that Accordo are in this attacking mode while reaching a mournful segment from ‘Meeting of the Spirits’.

There is a strong sense of an emergency siren coming at you. Both Giovanni and Stefano are like boxers in a boxing match. Like Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, they duel to the death between piano and a wildly sax improvisation before Marco’s riff exchanges the Looney Tunes melody from the Bob Clampett-era, Raymond Scott’s ‘Powerhouse’.

But its Bonetti’s violin leading the way with his hat tipping to both Atoll’s Richard Aubert and Jean-Luc Ponty to close the composition. But he’s far from finished. ‘Piu limpida e Chiara di ogni impression vissuta (part III) (More limpia and clearer than any lived impression)’ uses all of the metallic vibes on his instrument to make it much heavier with some wah-wah textures to go for the kill.

The ten minute title-track begins with a nod to the opening piece ‘So What’ from Miles Davis’ landmark release Kind of Blue as Patrizia Urbani’s vocals come crawling up your spine before the band climb towards the mountain top with Giovanni leading the way and Christian helping out the band to give them instruction to see where they’ll climb next.

And as the bomb starts to explode, the group go up to the mountain like no other. It becomes a cat-and-mouse chase with darker piano themes and Urbani’s voice calls out to the gods while the organ growls like a snarling eight-headed beast on ‘Secolo breve (The Short Century)’.

Giovanni takes on those keyboards as he, Radaelli, Maracas, and Franchi go into a nightmarish merry-go-round with frantic Wurlitzers that makes the clock tick rapidly. Not only the organ sounds like a bass guitar, but the playing in these hectic arrangements, makes the band come together as one.

‘Contrari ad ogni accordo (Opposed to any agreement)’ closes the album as the band give one more encore in a massive hall in their hometown to a standing ovation by reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Accordo’s UR– has a real massive force to bring these massive ideas to the kitchen table.

Whether you get it or you don’t, Accordo dei Contrari’s music is very challenging. And on their third release, it has proven to be well-crafted, well-structured, and laying down the law with an iron fist.

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