Nihil Project - "Plough Plays"
(Barl Fire Recordings/Woven Wheat Whispers 2006, PFWWW0001)
From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)
Nihil Project is an open collective devoted to psychedelia, musical experimentation and artistic avant-garde who have released two albums to date. They are based on the core duo of Antonello Cresti and Andrea Gianessi from Italy. A while back I reviewed Cresti's "In Yonder Garden" which I thought was great, but this release is probably better and definitely longer. On to the review...
UNQUIET GRAVE/TWA CORBIES: Instantly thrown into deep space and then suddenly Olde England with an Italian edge. A traditional folk song arranged by the Nihil Project. Very cool!!! With Antonello Cresti on lead vocal and Andrea Gianessi on guitar and Silvio Ripamonti on flugelhorn and trumpet. At the maypole in Renaissance Italy after dropping 3 hits and climbing into the time machine with John Titor. That Michelangelo knows how to party!!! Goes into the Last Spaghetti Western roundup! Montgomery Clift on a scooter talking into a white telephone. Antonello Cresti and company are bringing traditional English folk music into the new millenium. DAYS OF YORE: Super cool, great lyrics and vocals by Antonello. Cresti is fascinated by folklore and folk customs and has written a book about England and Wales, so the authenticity they bring to this music, plus the intensley psychedelic production and great playing make this release infinite notches above the standard fare. "I want to lose myself in the streets with you again...how far I'll feel...may the Green Man be awakened"... what a beautifully intense and relevant song! WEAVING WHEAT: The get off yer ass and boogie number! The hit! Tinklin' piano, electronic percussion then tabla's. Traditional English lyrics from the song Salisbury Plain. Over the top 2007 merry Olde England! I wish there was a lyric sheet because these are basically all traditional/modern folk songs. THE RIVER: What a great, full sound. Oh, this one is the hit! Sounds so familiar and new at the same time! "Down by the river side I spent all my life, now it's time to die". This Andrea Gianessi is a very compelling vocalist!!!
This CD is the ultimate ear candy like Sgt. Pepper's or Magical Mystery Tour, and also very pertinent/relevant like the Beatles. HOBBY HORSE: The whimsical song, instrumental, then goes Renaissance Faire!! Ends with joyous clapping by the Whicker Men!! ON BENNACHIE (A FIELD TRIP): Opens with outer space synth noises and goes into children in a class reciting a lesson. Crazy chaotic piano, levels off into pretty open field sound with a man talking about grass!? Then bird noises, then another Scottish man talking about the Bennachie monster! Along with blipping blooping spacey music by Simon Lewis. Nice guitar by Andrea Gianessi and e-bow guitar by Dathys B. Ends with bagpipes. SATADAY PEOPLE: Electronics that sound like a water pipe along with a beautiful guitar melody and Gav Dunn on the lead vocal. "Do you wanna come with me...I wanna go home, I wanna come down", nice hallucinogenic vocals/lyrics.TISSINGTON HALL WELL: Opens with tablas by Francesco Gherardi along withe bird noises/whistles etc. Some beautiful piano by Francesco Viani. Overall very impressive sound on the entire album!! No vocals on this one yet. Now at 3:36 some Cresti vocals, his Greg Lake with slight Italian accent, he sings, "It's not my cup of tea" then "It's just my cup of tea". Cresti's projects, like this and the "In Yonder Garden" CD, seem to be able to effortlessly hit that beautiful psychedelic folky pop sound that so many bands "try to get!!!". ALOHA SONG: A banjo, an American/Hawaiin song? A couple of mandolins, the wacky but not corny song, some Incredible String Band moments, "Surfs up, Aloha everyone".
Such a quality release in every way. Begs for repeated listens and sounds better and different every time. THE INFINITE: More drones, awesome intensity from guitar /synth?? Some tablas then some didjeridoo. Kickass sound. We could plan a murder or start a religion. HOW MANY TIMES: Whimsical children fairy tales sung by the Antonello Cresti. (UN)QUIET GRAVE #2: More Cresti Coolness. Tthe Wall of Afro Insane Spector Killer Sound!!!! I don't know what Cresti's books are like but his music is the complete trip in the Renaissance Post Modern Parallel Universe.
For more information you can visit the Nihil Project web site at: http://www.nihilproject.org.
Hear Nihil Project at their Myspace site at: http://www.myspace.com/nihilproject.
Email at: email@example.com.
Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher