Roberto Musci

Losing the Orthodox Path

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It's difficult to know what to make of this recording. Given that it's on Victo, a rightfully celebrated label with a solid reputation of issuing recordings of free jazz, improvisation, and other interesting music from their own Victoriaville Festival every year, one wonders why they would release this gimmicky, over the top session that is so thoroughly unimaginative in its use of sampled Gregorian chant and field recordings of Orthodox monks praying on Mount Athos with improvised electronics, guitar, saxophones, drums, drums, and more drums, keyboards, and tape loops. Losing the Orthodox Path features eight selections from ancient Christian canonical and liturgical texts and combines them with the collective Italian improvisational power (musically this trio makes a helluva band) of Roberto Musci, Giovanni Venosta, and Massimo Mariani, setting out to create new contexts for them. The only problem is that this kind of sampling is done so much in the pop world (Delerium, Transglobal Express, Loop Guru, etc.) that it's boring to the point of distraction to hear it done here -- especially with such awesome musical backing that is wasted in light of the prominence of the tape-manipulated vocal samples. Therefore, there is nothing gained, but everything lost, in a process so flawed and blatantly condescending that it sounds like Pink Floyd (modern day) trying to be an avant jazz/improv group. These guys should rename this disc Dark Side of the Monk. What a waste.

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