There’s an old joke, “What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? Answer: A singer.” It’s hard to understand and explain why Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking 1973 classic Dark Side of the Moon is one of the most crowning achievements and mind-blowing albums to give them a chance to be in the breakthrough and hit the mainstream. There are some who divided lines in the sand who prefer the Syd Barrett, Post-Barrett era (1968-1971), or the Roger Waters-era of Pink Floyd.
That and Boris Savoldelli’s take of the Floyd classic entitled, The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky released on the MoonJune label this year sees a darker, musique-concrete, electronic, chamber-avant-free jazz approach to the album. He along with Raffaele Casarano and Marco Bardoscia, and helping hands from guitarist Dewa Budjana, background sounds and manipulator WK569, and reciter Maurizio Nobili, take you into the deeper, darker and futuristic dystopian take of the 1973 classic.
Recorded back in 2013 on February 16 and 17th at the Rumore Bianco Studio in Esine, Italy along with Dewa's guitar tracks recorded at the Temple Island Studios at Jakarta, Indonesia on December 27th of last year, the artwork and cover done by Bruno Zoppetti's project of his vision of The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky on his website (www.brunozoppetti.com),
And Bruno's art design in a chalk format, captures the essence of the album's famous artwork done by the late great Storm Thorgerson including the heartbeat levels and liner notes about the album done by historian, biographer, and Pink Floyd Collector, Nino Gatti of the Lunatics, which is the Floyd's Collector's Club in Italy (http://www.thelunatics.it/tlhome.htm).
Now while I’m not crazy about Boris Savoldelli’s music, but what he brings here as I’ve mentioned earlier a different take of the band’s classic. It may not be for the faint of heart, but for me, I’ve adore every bit of it from start to finish. Take for example Us And Them, which features Dewa on Guitar, he takes a swirling improvisation of Gilmour’s beauty and the essence of Frippertronics alongside as the 14-minute take goes into a futuristic and electronic shrieking styles in the midsection that resembles French Duo Air, Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks and NEU!
But Marco’s double bass brings a heavier and thumping jazzier approach in which he would walk and the fuzzier sounds when he use his fingers or the bow as followed by Raff’s sax blaring into the various sections that have a moody atmosphere as vocal arrangements that Boris does through his spoken-words and noises. On the last 3-minutes of Brain Damage, Raffaele’s improvisation sends the spooky and surrealism on the sax’s and it the reverb effect comes in strong.
It has these dystopian vibrations of a world gone world with lunacy and insanity. And while this is going on, both Raff and Boris’ arrangements set that eerie twilight zone vibe coming in right at you that is calm and in your face. There at times that their take of the song reminiscent of Robert Wyatt’s vocalizations and how he would use the reverb styles on the microphones as he goes back and forth with it.
The ominous sounds of Breathe between Marco’s fuzzing double bass is done in both the E minor and A major section as he walks into a tightrope section in his instrument before the tempo changes with percussion shakers, snapping fingers, blaring sax, and the chamber-sque string section with a Free-Jazz take and the warmth and emotional touch of Time. This is my fourth and fifth time listening to The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky.
I will admit, this is not an easy album to listen to, but it’s a very interesting and mind-boggling take of the Floyd’s masterpiece. Savoldelli along with Casarano and Bardoscia, did one hell of a job of bringing a futuristic and avant-experimental jazzier take of the album. It may divide lines in the sand whether they will like it or not, but for me it is an odd but sentimental homage to the masters.