Fusion is such a loaded term and these days conjures up a tired old genre as opposed to the innovative approach to composition that it once did. Yet Italian experimental guitarist Luca Formentini, known for his work with Can’ Holger Czukay, is very much tapping in to a collision of genres. Experimental improvised guitar, leftfield electronics, jazz, ambient, drone, musique concrete all combine to be much more than the sum of their parts. It’s remarkably low key, at times remarkably abstract, with much space allowed for the instruments to tail out and drift back in. Tacet, often utilised in music scores, is Latin for silence, and whilst Formentini rarely drops away the instruments fully, he does play with our expectations, though the silence is more implied than real. Composing with a spare languid stillness, it’s music that embraces space and silence, yet also improvisation, whilst simultaneously establishing an evocative mood, that is never shattered by technique. Formentini on fretless guitar, harmonica, micronoises, and voice is joined by Markus Stockhausen on trumpet and drummer Steve Jansen (Japan/ Nine Horses), Deborah Walker on cello, Frank Moreno (percussion) and Steve Lawson on electric bass. Most often though it’s simply Formentini solo on his fretless electric guitar, playing multiple parts and processing his guitar, sounding like a fully fledged ensemble At times it’s reminiscent in mood and pace of German late night jazz icons Bohren and Der Club of Gore, at others it betrays its improvised/ free jazz leanings. In Formentini’ hands the guitar is used for texture, for resonance, for controlled feedback. He is clearly operating without set parameters here, creating a new form, albeit one that is gentle, evocative and surprisingly musical.
Bob Baker Fish