The music on this recording is the soundtrack to a documentary ?Memorie di Crespi d?Adda ? Il Passato Riemerso? by Stefano de Ponti (one of the actual members of this three piece) and Michela Mozzanica. Although I haven?t seen the film, listening to this CD (and looking at the artwork) already makes me travel to some distant, real/imaginary places situated at the heart of the Italian countryside.
On their website (www.passouno.org), the band describes its modus operandi which is to ?explore the musical intention hiding behind an image?. In this sense, Passo Uno have truly succeeded because you can really feel a music that is constantly remodelling itself according to an unseen flow of images.
As far as the music is concerned, it evokes the softer, more ?rural? side of a certain kind of post-rock which is commonly associated with bands such as Hood (especially on their albums ?Rustic Houses Forlorn Valleys? and ?The Cycle of Days and Seasons?), Autumn In Halifax or even Lanterna. Hence the deep sense of melancholy that can be felt throughout this recording.
The melodies are very present; they often result from the strumming of simple acoustic guitar chords which give a sort of modal quality to the music, while the rest of the instrumentation ? including violin, clarinet, cello, a sparse use of field recordings (courtesy of Italian sound artist Hue) ? adds more colour to the band?s sonic palette.
More than anything, there is a fluidity in these performances that seems to be directly related to the unique dynamics existing between image and sound. Consequently, the music is definitely gentler than the Hood recordings mentioned just above. Yet, it is by no means less intense as the presence of some darker moments/ areas here and there can actually testify.
Reflecting upon it now, it is clear to me that Passo Uno are truly exploring new areas of performance ? between image and sound ? that are yet to be defined. On a more musical level, they?re also putting a sense of melody back to what is often referred to as improv? ? in a way that is not too dissimilar from the Japanese quartet Minamo, despite the fact that their music are quite different.
As we listen on, the sense of spleen and reflection only gets stronger and stronger without becoming overbearing in any way. Track 5 ?Colpi A Vuoto?, for instance, slowly builds upon a particularly evocative ambient environment (via a series of echoes and delays) only to go back to a more traditional ?post-rock? narrative using laid-back drum playing and ethereal guitar chords. This is the kind of understated dynamics that are at work here and which will leave the attentive listener with an impression of travelling across a constantly shapeshifting sound+landscape of sorts.
As its title suggests, the track ?Ricordo Da Un Senso Di Appartenenza? (which is also the title of the album) perfectly captures the contemplative mood that is at the core of this musical and visual experiment. It gracefully explores the renewed sense of attachment that may arise from the very fact of being separated from a specific place/ person/ time ? only with a handful of delicate melodies and a combination of gentle, yet assured musical gestures. It is definitely one of the album?s highlights along with the last track ?Declino E Caduta? that is even subtler in its use of silences and space.
On the whole, this is a very beautiful recording that may gain a little more depth from its conjunction with the film, though. Yet, there is no doubt that Passo Uno are actively carving out some new musical paths, the cartography of which remains to be delineated. 6/10 -- Francois Hubert (19 June, 2007)