Nihil Project - "Samhain"
(self-released 2005, AC002, CD)
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
Nihil Project is the conception of Antonello Cresti & Andrea Gianessi and together they have, with help from assorted musicians, produced their new CD Samhain, which is an 8-song affair and lasts around 50 minutes. The first track, "Astrodome Siddhi" was a pleasant surprise to me as I listened to it for the first time. It says that the lyrics are written by Cresti, which is untrue. Because it just so happens that as a North Eastern England dweller, the lyrics in question are traditional to my area. And as any good folky should, I know these things. "Byker Hill" is the song in question and I must admit that to hear it done by foreigners to the country, let alone the region, was more than welcomed, and I must admit that they did it in an original way. Also on the lyric side I hear an Incredible String Band lyric in here as well, between the "Byker Hill" lyrics. Earth, water, fire, and death. Met together in a garden fair…Good ole Robin Williamson from the album, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. Credit where credits due, and all that shit. Ya don't want to end up like Bob Dylan do ya?
Putting that aside and moving forward and exploring the rest of Samhain I find that the folk thing is adopted, and experimented with throughout, which is the reason that I picked this CD, but on the whole I was disappointed to be honest. The music, and the instruments used, together produce a frequent spacey feel, with lots of atmospheres and synth's, which is what WE are interested in. And it shows with conviction that Nihil Project can execute meditive ambience, and layered soundscapes with ease. "Imbolic" is such a piece. It builds from mellow, with energy, into something far heavier, on which there is some very good Clarinet playing by Orlo Odori. It is freak out stuff. Wild and energetic, and it accompanies the heavy guitar solos with distinct flavour and passion. I like most stuff on this CD but also find that it is a bit stale in places. This is primarily a matter of taste and nothing more. Because on the whole Samhain is a strange trip into the minds of Nihil Project, and it is a pleasant cruise. I think that it is the singing that I cannot get away with in places, and apart from this I find it very spacey in a Steve Hillage gliss kind of way on certain tracks, but I could also mention Tangerine Dream.
I was hoping after the "Byker Hill" arrangement that this CD would stray further into traditional space folk, but it was not forthcoming, although it did have its moments. And I cannot really complain about the content because it was strange and atmospheric, and it took me on a journey. The production is high and the sound quality stands it on good ground. The musicianship cannot be faulted and the idea's are not your run of the mill stuff. Because they offer individuality, and in the world of music this is somewhat necessary. Nihil Project can sum it up themselves!
Pot sounds for the new bards….
For more information you can visit the Nihil Project web site at: http://www.nihilproject.org.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samhain is distributed through: http://www.materialisonori.it.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard