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Friday, July 8, 2016

Naked Truth - Avian Thug

Since my championing of WorldService Project’s For King and Country on the RareNoise label on my blog site Music from the Other Side of the Room this year, I’ve always wanted to discover the label as if looking for new treasures in the Sierra Madre or in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. One of the bands that took me to a higher level that have completed my eyebrow levels going up is band called, Naked Truth. They have released three albums in the can including released last year entitled, Avian Thug.

The band launched and founded by Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati who alongside his work with Naked Truth, has worked with Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) for Twinscapes and his collaboration with Italian vocalist-multi-instrumentalist sonic provocateur Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (LEF) with Berserk! Lorenzo is a very busy man when it comes to projects for the RareNoise label.

With Naked Truth, the band’s sound was to capture the styles of the Electric Fusion-era of the golden beginnings of 1970s from Miles Davis and King Crimson with a Progressive Jazz Rock attitude that will blow the doors down that will have listeners close their eyes and imagine it’s 1973 all over again. 

I first became aware of Naked Truth’s music a few years ago when I was in College and listening to Sid Smith’s episodes of Podcasts from the Yellow Room and this noise just took me by surprise. It was loud, innovative, and in your face. Very much like giving both Yanni and Kenny G a big gigantic middle finger on how real good Jazz is supposed to sound. And then, all of a sudden, I almost forgot about them. Now I’m onto the Naked Truth’s band wagon this year.

When I first listened to the entirety of Avian Thug on my old CD player with my headphones on, I was blown away from the start. Both Lorenzo, Graham Hayes on Trumpet and Electronics, Roy Powell on Keyboards, and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Stick Men) on Acoustic and Electric Drums, Percussion, create a mysterious and cavernous sound that will make you think of both of the artist and the band as if Miles and Crimson had worked together and make the Red album, better, stronger, and sinister. And with five enduring centerpieces, it took me back and go through albums of the golden-era of King Crimson, the Canterbury Scene, Rock In Opposition and Electronic Music.

Day Two at Bedlam is a darkened, heavier, musique-concrete, and ominous piece. Featuring sampled Mellotron which I can imagine the homage to King Crimson’s THRAK-era, horn sections, percussions, bass lines going various locations, string-sections, and harsh musical chords that resemble the styles of Edgard Varese’s Ionisation and Klaus Schulze’s Irrlicht.

The alarming opener, Rapid Fire starts with a blaring synth and vicious trumpet section between Graham and Lorenzo. And then Ray goes into his avant-swing section on the Organ as he and Pat along with Lorenzo’s bass go into some intense time changing improvisation and then Graham comes flying through the doors and brings the Miles Trumpet to some hypnotic and insane solos before ending on a high note.

I wish it could have been a little longer on the opening track, because I wish we had more than just 3-minutes. But I digress. Trap Door starts with this ambient haunting guitar/keyboard intro before sending the jump to hyper-speed as Feliciatti plays both the Guitar and Bass while Haynes reverb Trumpet effect, brings the echoing twists and turns as Pat bangs on the kit as tensions increases the rhythm while Tense Shaman sees Lorenzo carrying on his Bass Guitar, the fuzz-tone sound.

It has this twisted avant-electronic jazz rock approach that just took me on a higher level. Haynes is going in the elevator of A Tribute to Jack Johnson-era as he walks up towards the spiral staircase to see where he would lead him into as Powell is creating the noise and synthesized surroundings of the strange sounds that makes it surreal and in your face.

The 13-minute finale, Moon at Noon is like going up into our solar systems with a chamber jazz-rock atmosphere and looking towards the milky-way and onto the Moon. Ray Powell moves the keyboards aside and heads into the Piano for a journey into our universe. He and Haynes create the textures followed by Feliciati’s Bass for the first 5-minutes of the piece. It’s almost to me, in my opinion the nod to Soft Machine’s Out-Bloody-Rageous from their 1970 album, Third.

Ray is not doing an homage to Herbie Hancock, but honoring the styles of Mike Ratledge and Bill Evans before Pat Mastoletto comes in for the journey back home as he and Lorezno take the ship back home to Earth for a funk groove. The bass shuffling has not just Funk, but a Blues sounding as it fades away for the roaring synth effect by Ray and then disappearing into the night to head home.

I was stunned and completely spellbound of listen of the entire album from the beginning to the end. Naked Truth have completely taken me by surprise and it showed how real Jazz and Avant-Rock can take it up a notch. 

RareNoise Records is now suddenly going to become one of my favorite labels of this year. Entrepreneur Giacomo Bruzzo and music producer Eraldo Bernocchi, who started the label eight years ago, deserves a gigantic pat on the back. Worth checking out for the Avian Thug.

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