Unimother 27 – “s/t”
(Pineal Gland 2006, PG 001)
From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)
Unimother 27 is a project by Italian multi-instrumentalist Piero Ranalli. Ranalli explores similar territory to Krautrock adventurers such as Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream, but in his own unique way. Perhaps that sounds like a bit of cliché to say, but in the case of this album, it’s true. One of the things that makes Ranalli’s music stand out is his penchant for quirky, fascinating rhythms, which give the music a feel not unlike, yet very different from those artists that inspired him.
Things kick off with Prelude, a pure delay freakout of layered guitars. Raw and uncompromising, it’s definitely an ear-catching beginning, but gives little hint of what lays ahead. The Secret Vision introduces us to Ranalli’s eccentric rhythms as layers of buzzing, spacey and melodic guitars weave in and around the ever-shifting patterns of percussion. Flaming Lamp features deep space organ drones and high spaced out guitar reminiscent of Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht days, accented with jazzy bass, again giving the piece a very rhythmically unusual bent. Pulsing synths and more space organ sounding like the music of some kind of celestial cathedral provide the backdrop for trippy hand-percussion and some jazz and blues inspired guitar explorations on Native State. The centerpiece of the album, however, is the 19-minute long The Nature of All Things. Starting with reverent organ and echoing, distorted voices, the piece moves through multiple sections of cavernous space drones, groaning guitars, electronic sequences...all building into a deliriously cosmic jam that would do the Cosmic Jokers proud. The final track, Without Center, is a dark and menacing piece, with dangerous sounding guitars, enormous buzzing waves of synth and organ and more of those crazy rhythmic digressions that make this music so interesting.
Ranalli makes no attempt to hide his admiration and love of his musical heroes, but his drive to put his own personal style into his music has allowed him to create some of the freshest Krautrock-style sounds I’ve heard in awhile. Unimother 27 comes highly recommended!
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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald