Prolific Italian pianist-keyboard player Giovanni Di Domenico is known for his genre-binding musical vision as well as for his encyclopedic technique, with rhythm, harmony and tone informed by non-western traditions yet equally sensitive to contemporary music, free jazz and the most radical manifestations stemming from the underworld of pop music. Di Domenico has written Succo di formiche (ant juice in Italian. The title refers to the cover artwork by French Nouveau réalisme artist Yves Klein, ‘ANT 84 Untitled Anthropometry’) with the intention of creating a one-movement suite in the least amount of time possible.
Eventually, the recording of the 41-minute seven-movement Succo di formiche took four days at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels in May 2021. Still, it reflects faithfully the archetypal, spontaneous joy of music making as well as the love of the vinyl album format. Di Domenico is accompanied by an international ensemble – Belgian keyboard player and sound artist Pak Yan Lau (with family roots in Hong Kong) and accordionist Stan Maris, Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, and Australian, Berlin-based drummer Joe Talia. All but Maris collaborated and recorded before with Di Domenico.
Succo di formiche is a slow-burning suite that slowly and patiently seduces the listener into its sonic universe. It begins with the lyrical drone of «Non aver alba» (have no dawn), with a beautiful piano melody articulated gently by Di Domenico, and colored by delicate and enigmatic ambient sounds by the ensemble. The following «Una coperta di silenzio» (a blanket of silence) dives even deeper into mysterious and cinematic, atmospheric terrains. But then on «Gli altoparlanti dei grill» (the cricket speaks), which repeats the melody of the opening piece, the meditative atmosphere gravitates into melancholic, chamber jazz, but still ornamented with unsettling, dissonant sounds and noises. The ensemble continues to develop this interplay on «Minum» (drink), returns briefly to the mysterious, abstract yet cinematic texture on «La scatola di grissini perfetta» (the perfect box of breadsticks), and back to the jazzy vibe of «Minum (Reprise)» and the last piece «l ritorno e’sempre più corto» (the return is always shorter). Now the ensemble is even equipped with vintage, prog-rock keyboards that cement the timeless essence of this impressive suite.
Pak Yan Lau (Hohner Pianet, toy piano, synthesizer), Manuel Mota (electric guitar), Stan Maris (accordion), Joe Talia (drums, electronics), Giovanni Di Domenico (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ)