Tenores di Bitti

S'Amore 'e Mama

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Sardinian polyphonic a cappella singing gets high-gloss production from producer Michael Brook, but he goes easy on the special effects (except for some cavernous reverb) so that the Bronze Age strangeness of the material speaks for itself. Most pieces on S'Amore 'e Mama are slow moving and reverential, as the quartet flexes its repertoire of rhythmic phonemes and guttural droning, craggy as the mountainous landscape of the singers' home. The stark atmosphere is buttressed by the limited melodic range of the material. While the leader might bounce around as many as half a dozen notes, the backup singers park themselves on a monotone, milking a minor-key resonance in Gregorian chant fashion. They also have a habit of vigorously descending a half-tone en masse, making it feel as if the floor has suddenly dropped beneath the listener's feet.

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