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«In The Room»

The Elephant is an Italian trio that was founded in 2017 and featuring long-standing friends and members of the Italian jazz scene – trumpeter Gabriele Mitelli (who plays in the duo Star Splitter with American trumpeter Rob Mazurek and in a trio with the British rhythm section of John Edwards and Mark Sanders), percussionist Pasquale Mirra, and drummer Cristiano Calcagnile. The trio first came together for an artistic residency at the Ground Music Festival in Brescia with the filmmaker collective Unzalab where they collaborated on a live performance of expanded cinema during which musicians and filmmakers dialogued and improvised.

In The Room is the debut album of The Elephant, capturing some of the magic the trio has explored in their sonic experiments, with its musicians adding vocals, electronics and synths to its arsenal. The eight short pieces are mostly intimate musical polaroids that reflect the colorful and sensual expressiveness of the music the trio loves, when all the distinct personal differences, intentions and perplexities merge into something bigger than its sum. «Third Ghost, Old Dreams» experiments with more surreal, otherworldly texture. Italian vocalist-songwriter Cristina Donà joins on the (vintage) synth-driven song «Hey Mary». Chicagoan  Damon Locks contributes poetry and vocals to the futurist, industrial-sounding title song, and fellow Chicagoan does the same on the last, most beautiful piece here, «What? You Don’t Like Beauty», proving that the proverbial elephant has many inspired, poetic qualities.

Medea is the second album of the duo of Mitlelli and Mazurek – Star Splitter – following their self-titled album (Clean Feed, 2019), and was recorded in a studio at Reggio Calabria in 2022, and it is dedicated to Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (who directed a film based on the myth of Medea in 1969). Star Spltter’s debut album was inspired by a similar source, a poem by Robeet Frost. Mazurek did the cover artwork, as he did for the debut album.

The «Medea» piece offers a free interpretation to the ancient myth. It is a cosmic journey into alien, restless and unpredictable sonic worlds, and corresponds with the musical legacy of Sun Ra and the AACM, minimalist electronica, post-rock and Chicagon genre-defying outfits of Mazurek like Chicago Underground, Isotope 217 and Tigersmilk. Mitlelli and Mazurek kept experimenting with sounds, dynamics and textures since their debut album and created music that is rich with poetic sonic imagination, adventurous spirit and a captivating spirit of freedom, that refuses to follow any convection of rule. A journey to the edge and beyond.

Eyal Hareuveni

Gabriele Mitelli (trumpet, cornet, voice, electronics), Pasquale Mirra (vibraphone, percussion, synthesizer), Cristiano Calcagnile (drums, percussion), Cristina Donà (vocals), Damon Locks (poetry, vocals), Rob Mazurek (piccolo trumpet, trumpet, poetry, vocals, electronics)