Kalisantrope is a progressive instrumental trio from Milan, Italy. In December 2014 they released their first EP “Anatomy of the World”. Last week the band presented their first full length CD entitled “Brinicle” to the Italian public. The year 2017 will be an important year for the band because they will present the new album also at their first gig abroad. The band is asked to perform at the CD presentation of the new album of the band Unreal City. On September 10th both Italian bands will present their new albums at a ProgFrog duo gig in Nieuwekerk a/d IJssel, The Netherlands. Drummer Alex Carsetti was also responsible for mixing and mastering the album that was recorded at Carsius Lab.
A Brinicle is an ice stalactite that is formed beneath sea ice. A cold air flow coming from the surface, penetrates into ice inlets and by entering comes in contact with the saline water. It's the undersea equivalent of a hollow stalactite. At the time of creation, a Brinicle resembles a pipe of ice reaching down from the underside of a layer of sea ice. It continues its way into the water in a swirling way, until it gets to the bottom. Once touching the bottom, it freezes whatever is on it. For this reason it is also nicknamed “Finger of Death”. This phenomenon is beautifully illustrated on the the cover of the album.
Noemi Bolis - bass; Alex Carsetti - drums; Davide Freguglia - keyboards
For the band the name “Brinicle” also stands for something that has been started but is not finished yet, like their first EP (“Anatomy of the World”) with complex issues and a certain spiritual depth. For the most part the songs were written during certain painful moments in the lives of the band members. So you see, compared to the previous EP, the band was very inspired and studied the themes of this thoughtful concept. The songs which are part of “Brinicle” are thematically linked to the “Anatomy of the World” concept. The band does not only want to share melodies and notes to the public but also notions of interesting facts. Their desire is to disseminate the knowledge through music. Because of the fact that the music on “Brinicle” is entirely instrumental, the listener has to inform himself in order to understand the message the band is conveying. The music is composed in a joint session of the band and for the most of the time the ideas have been the result of improvisation. While the band was still in the process of composition the band started to play some material in a live setting to check if it was working. Composing and at the same time gigging is not always easy. For such a young band it must have been a stressful time but also a time full of learning points.
The album starts of with the overture “Dawn on Hiroshima Skies” that tells about the dramatic event of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. The bass of Noemi starts the composition soon followed by the drums of Alex and the organ of Davide. You will notice the elements of improvisation in this first composition which has a somewhat dark and brooding atmosphere. This is followed by “Placebo Effect”, a track that represent the effects of placebo to treat various medical conditions. It is about the potential of the human mind. Is it really possible to be convinced of something until it becomes true? The first part of this composition sounds like a free jazz composition which has been established by improvisation. The second part has more melodic elements and the tension of the music is rising in the up tempo ending.
“Canis Majoris” is a red hyper giant star which is considered one of he largest stars known. How insignificant is the earth when it faced the grandeur of the universe and our daily problems are only a small part of all that surrounds us. The music is in a more progressive vein and the organ of Davide is joined by several vintage keyboards. For me it is one of the more interesting pieces of this album. The next two compositions “Notturno” and “Morgendämmerung” are held together by a natural relationship. Showing the beauty of nature in two parts of the day (night and dawn). The coming of darkness described by the notes of the keyboards and the sudden awakening by Taiko percussion, are the two compositional techniques that are characterizing these two tracks. I like the intriguing atmosphere of the keyboard based “Notturno”. The Taiko percussion in “Morgendämmerung” is combined with flute like synth sounds. I am not sure this piece is fitting musically very well on this album, but it shows that the band is thinking in a progressive way.
The next piece “Cordyceps” is named after the parasitic fungus that attacks and kills insects and spiders. The song has a steady bass line that is maintained for the entire duration of the song, while the keyboards and the drums improvise on that riff. It is an interesting concept that is followed by the first single that the band has released. The song is called “Seeking Harmony” and this track should help the listener to find harmony in nature. This piece has a classical piano opening and a jazzy bass line. The second part is a combination of up tempo parts and intriguing keyboard work. Like on their first EP “Anatomy of the World” the keyboards of Davide Freguglia are playing an important role in the music of Kalisantrope. But this “Brinicle” album is more a group effort. The album closes with the interesting piece “Genisteae” (desert flower). A suite inspired by the poetry of Leopardi. For this piece the band wanted to add an electronic sound. This is accomplished by sequencing, which starts immediately after the piano intro and reinforces the rhythm section. With a duration of almost nine minutes this is also the longest track of the album. It is an intriguing piece of music and my personal favorite of this album. The slow middle section is very mysterious. Later on the music becomes more up tempo and you can enjoy freaky synth and drum solo's before the piece ends with a delicate piano part that is only accompanied by the bass of Noemi.
First of all I would like to thank bassist Noemi Bolis who translated an article for me that was published in HamelinProg to provide me with the needed information to support my review and to explain the message the band wants to convey to the readers of progVisions. Like the concept of the album the music of the band is not easy to digest. Only after several listening sessions the album will reveal it's real beauty. The music on this album is based on improvisation and has elements of experimental jazz and 70's Prog. The music has often an intriguing and mysterious character. I would advise the open minded music lover to listen first to some of the music before buying a digital or physical copy the album. You can do all this on the Bandcamp page of the band.
Your reviewer is looking forward to the duo gig the band will gave together with Unreal City later this year (September 10th) in The Netherlands. ProgVisions will be there!