Louis Siciliano’s Ancient Cosmic Truth highlights four tracks from the renowned Italian composer. He has set a new standard for modern jazz fusion and couples intriguing synthesizer textures into the form. The presence of former Weather Report percussionist Alex Acuña testifies to the foundational influence in his work, but it goes further than that. Siciliano’s work attempts to push into new areas without ever falling into the trap of obscurity. The title implies that this music is closed to the average listener – far from it. His vision is unique, but it has a common ground of musicality that all listeners can enjoy if they are willing to open their minds.
“Bambara’s Symmetries” opens the release at a mid-tempo pace with Siciliano’s synth textures serving as the underlying dazzle. The opening seconds of the song are guided by Siciliano’s synthesizer and percussionist Alex Acuna before tenor sax player Umberto Muelli joins the fray. He’s assembled an impressive lineup to bring his musical ambitions to fruition – Randy Brecker’s trumpet and Claudio Romano’s drumming rounds out the lineup. Drumming and percussion exert a tremendous influence over how the songs develop, and this performance sets the bar for everything that follows. It’s the EP’s shortest song, as well, clocking in under three minutes in length and its condensed musicality is a stunning way to open the release.
“Translucent Dodecahedron” is, easily, the EP’s most esoteric track. The title alone spirals listeners into some sort of inner space where mysteries are revealed, and nothing is what it seems. Drumming and percussion are crucial, once again, to the overall effect of the song and Siciliano assumes an even greater prominence than before. The staggered pulse of the performance draws listeners into its swirl and Muelli’s tenor sax, in particular, wails with unbridled passion. Despite the seeming alien nature of the song’s “theme”, “Translucent Dodecahedron” proves to be one of the most powerful listening experiences on Ancient Cosmic Truth.
“The Secret of Mansa” offers us a different turn on Siciliano’s talents. The aqua-like splash opening the track soon segues into perhaps the most atmospheric moment on the release as well as arguably its most melodic. Muelli and Randy Brecker are at the center of this performance, and they often duet with wonderful musical charm. It’s a stark contrast, in some ways, over the other songs and the flourishes built into the composition are a nice touch that many listeners will remember.
The title track serves as the finale for the release and Siciliano, once again, shows great daring. Incorporating a bevy of voices during the song’s opening is unexpected but succeeds brilliantly because he weaves it into the larger frame of the song. The drumming is key and has a full-steam ahead flavor that few listeners will fail to enjoy. Ending the release with such a colorful and fully fleshed out composition is quite a climax to one of the most invigorating works in recent musical history. Ancient Cosmic Truth has the sting of true ambition and will linger in your memory.
Photo Courtesy Mario Coppola