[reviews] afe121cd
meerkat: kapnos

heathen harvest []
webzine, usa, january 2010

What would you get if you combined ten of Italy's most influential electronic musicians and put them under the care of Maurizio Bianchi? Well you would get Meerkat. This is their third release in the "Between the Elements" quadrilogy. The first two being "Nefelodhis" (Clouds) and "Erimos" (desert). Songs are composed in groups of two or three, melding the ensemble together. And just who is in there? We have Adriano Zanni, Matteo Uggeri, Luca Sigurta, Luca Bergero, Davide Valecchi, Andrea Ferraris, Fabio Selvafiorita, Paolo Ippoliti, Laura Lovreglio and Andrea Marruti.

Built on the theme of smoke (Kapnos), the tunes within mix solid frequencies with liquid sounds. With a flock of people involved the thought would be that the music they create would be incohesive and scattered. Not so with Meerkat, the basic theme mentioned above is held through-out the CD.

Keeping that in mind, all the tracks included have recordings of fire (crackling, smoldering, etc…) within each song giving continuity to the CD. Starting with "One", the recordings of fire disappear into a whirlpool of sounds. Pitches are elevated, tones swirl and rush. The crackling and popping of fire in interspersed with static and ambient sounds of water.

"Two" has a droning ambient of wind and fire burning. Recordings of conversations overlap giving it a confused sound. "Three" has a psychedelic keyboard played delicately, lending itself to illustrate the sight of smoke wafting gently into the air. A simple piece, yes, but the imagery it imparts is magical and mysterious. "Four" features a bass line droning along with the above mentioned field recordings, this flows directly into "Five", the pitches gradually get louder giving us the feeling we are standing still as humanity speeds by us.

In "Six" sounds scrape and move around us. The sound of fire is heard faintly underneath the scraping effects, presenting us with a truly eerie setting. "Seven" has a subtle gentle hum, ambient in its presentation. Pitches drone into a chiming rhythm. Static and guitars break the calm, but never divert the serene atmosphere.

As a total concept, the sounds and aura's created stay true to the theme. With this much talent it would be hard not to. Each track is competently played, the compounds and effects of the subject (smoke), are heard in a subtle way. While the subject could have been heavy handed, here it is dealt with in a mystical and almost spiritual inclination. The members keep their continuity in the theme and each other without sacrificing any musical integrity.