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Alberto Rigoni – Odd Times Award winner

Alberto Rigoni
Odd Times
by Ian Yeara at 06 September 2020, 8:30 PM

As much as I love Progressive music and Jazz Fusion, I rarely spend a lot of time listening to instrumental music. It's very hit and miss for me, but I am a vocalist and it's hard for me to care as much about purely instrumental music. All that being said, when I really like an instrumental song, I will often binge that song or that album for a good while. Bands like FRAGMENTS OF THE ORIENT, and SCALE THE SUMMIT are good examples of how to do instrumental albums, while I would point to ANIMALS AS LEADERS as something I just cannot get into. So, I guess I'm a bit picky.

That being said, I actually really like this album. It's a bit of a slow burn, but the whole album is about 36 minutes long so it's easy to sit through the whole thing. I'm not one of those people to decry any album longer than 45 minutes, because I love long albums. It's all about doing what's right for the individual group, and Alberto Rigoni has created a really wonderful slab of instrumental Progressive Metal.

While it does obey many conventions of what we think of in the 21st century Prog scene, the album pushes boundaries here and there, with pacing and with hooks. The hooks are there, but they're layered and fluid, the harmonies are interesting, but most of all this drummer knows his shit! This is some polyrhythmic stuff and everyone that played on this album is very good at what they do.

Of course all of this tells me that Rigoni is probably a trained musician and it shows in his songwriting. I just read that he co-founded the Vivaldi Metal Project of which I am a big fan so that's cool. He's just got this natural flare, I can see why he plays with the best of the best in Prog. This guy's played with Kevin Moore and Gavin Harrison, they may not be the biggest names in Prog, but they are two of the most talented musicians in the scene. If Rigoni can hang with them, he can hang with anybody.

It's a little difficult to discuss each song individually, especially since this album is really meant to be heard all at once. The pacing is excellent, none of the songs really get too slow for long at all, the music is always flowing and evolving. Big props to Rigoni for there being zero filler on this album, not even during the songs. This is a concise and taut album with no fat on it and I like that. Even with instrumental music you sometimes get 10 or more tracks and even if it's good stuff, I have a hard time staying engaged with an instrumental album when it goes over 50-60 minutes.

The track that stood out to me the most was probably "Crazy Horse", lots of eccentric electronic sounds and crazy keyboard loops that give it a someone frenetic sound at times. As with everything on this album the guitar playing is smooth as butter, his tone is perfect, not too gritty, not too smooth, right in between.

I really need to mention the bass, which of course is what Rigoni primarily plays. Wow, there are some awesome bass licks on this album. Every track has at least one stand out moment for the bass and he manages to inject soul into his playing, which in Prog can often come across as somewhat mechanical or "emotionless". Rigoni isn't just trying to show off his chops, he wants to show us how well he can write hooks and licks into instrumental music. For the most part the music is chill, but then moments like the ending of "Crazy Horse" the band just goes off and it gets quite crazy by the end.

This is a Prog album, so the real showstopper is of course the 11 minute epic "Different Worlds". This one revisits a lot of the themes and licks from the first song and amps them up a little bit. This track has a lot of energy and probably the best guitar playing on the whole album and that's saying something. Once again the bass tone is godly and all the layers of music really flow together like streams pouring out into the river. In fact, flowing water is a great metaphor for how this album sounds. Calm and gentle for the most part, but with moments of bombast and energy. Balance is the name of the game here and Rigoni has achieved that and then some. "Different Worlds" is probably the most metal song on the album, but it's still not really that heavy. We get some 16th note triplets in the bridge which for me was really nice and in general this song is a lot of fun.

I'm not a huge fan of instrumental Prog usually, but maybe if more of it was like this I would. Short, concise and very tight. Every moment feels like it was intended as a part of the larger whole and really that's how any album should be, that's how the best albums are. This album isn't like cracking my top 100 or anything, but I went into this with a fairly biased mindset I admit and I ended up really enjoying myself. Such is a life of a critic and it's one of the reasons I like doing this so much, even during the times when it feels like a drag on my schedule, albums like this help pick me up and I really appreciate Alberto Rigoni for what he was able to accomplish on this album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Odd Times
2. Countdown
3. Crazy Horse
4. V
5. Different Worlds
Lineup:
Alberto Rigoni – Bass
Alexandra Zerner – Guitars & keys
Marco Minnemann – Drums
Record Label: Sliptrick Records
     


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