Andrea Belfi

Between Neck & Stomach

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Rosalina Mar's drummer Andrea Belfi has delivered with Between Neck & Stomach an album of delicate sound constructions in tune with Häpna's unwritten aesthetics: dreamy sound pieces sitting restlessly between abstract constructs and pastoral tunes, electronic treatments and folk music on the porch at sunset. Belfi being a drummer, it should be no surprise if percussion occupies the center stage throughout the album, from the ominous snare drum-pressed roll of "Sandglass" to the treated metal cling-clangs of "Sleeping with Extraevil." The other main instruments are harmonium (evoking previous Häpna releases signed or involving Andreas Berthling), guitar (evoking Giuseppe Ielasi's two Häpna CD's), and voice, all wrapped up in electronics ranging from a gentle popcorn to harsh wails. Belfi's music is attuned to the label's artistic direction, fine, but it also follows its own course. In that regard, the 11-minute "Extraevil" provides a highlight, for its careful pacing, immersive mood and highly skilled composition. On the other hand, "Sleeping with Extraevil" feels somewhat more predictable, plus the start-stop samples, loop-driven structure and overall sound palette simply get too close to Ielasi's territory for comfort. Thankfully, "Sandglass," "Footprints" and the aforementioned "Extraevil" all showcase a talented composer with a fresh voice. Also working for Between Neck & Stomach are its smooth listening curve, thematic unity, immersive quality, and short duration, all factors that make it easy to listen to in one sitting, despite the demanding nature of the music.

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