Hardy Perennials

Italian percussionist Francesco Gregoretti last tapped our cowbells with his solo album Solid Layers, Deafening Shapes from 2016, an extremely heavy item where he made his kit groan and rattle in droney fashion. Expect more of similar action on his latest record, where he now teams up the double bass player Renato Grieco to form the duo Cyanobacteria. They’re joined by a third entity, the mighty tuba-man Carl Ludwig Hübsch, without a doubt the go-to guy when a lower-register acoustic bone-shaker drone is needed.

The music on Are You An Orchid Or A Dandelion? (TOXO RECORDS TX07) is mostly produced by a series of slow, heaving motions, each player doing their best to drag black and turgid sounds from their instruments; plenty of solemn bass drums, doomy cymbals, scraped metal, scrapey bass, and profound puffy sighs of despair from the brass section. I like the way they cheerfully describe these instruments as “elephantine”; they proclaim they are aiming for something pretty basic and raw, never settling for a walk in the park with their dainty cousin from Flanders when they could be going two rounds in the ring with a heavy-set fisherman from Zeebrugge.

The title of the album refers to the work of child health expert W. Thomas Boyce, who made this distinction to help parents understand how “resilient” their children would be as they embarked on life’s road. No prizes for guessing which side this trio align themselves with. I think this wildflower idea could spark a useful line of enquiry; I can think of at least three avant-garde musicians who we could characterise as cacti. From 28 June 2019.

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