Maniscalco / Bigoni / Solborg: Canto

The Danish-Italian reeds, guitar and keyboard trio offers a third instalment of its delicate, pensive electro-acoustic chamber music


Guitarist, composer and theorist Mark Solborg’s music runs a wide musical gamut, blurring the boundaries between composition and improvisation, traditional Western harmony and microtonal spectra, melody and abstraction. The three-volume TUNGEMÅL could be his manifesto, and many of its radical sonic approaches can be heard on this, the third recorded collaboration from his quietly brilliant Danish-Italian trio.

If 2018’s acclaimed Foil was to a great extent shaped by the natural acoustics of an historic Italian opera hall, Canto by contrast very much exploits the potential of the studio. In this often rarefied atmosphere, atomised electro-acoustic sounds combine in perfect synchronicity, creating a stunning series of oneiric and almost Miro-esque sound worlds.

The soothing swells of Under Weather immediately signal the trio’s intent, drawing the listener into an inviting pool of sound. The deep integration of electronic processing stands in curious counterpoint to the ageless and rather austere melody, and this juxtaposition of analogue and digital becomes one of the album’s most defining characteristics.

Maniscaclo’s spare Rhodes establishes a doleful mood on Faggio, the mildly unsettling melody referencing a range of influences from the Second Viennese School to Monk. The serene Simple Melody is one of several pieces shrouded in a ghostly electronic aura, though nothing can possibly disguise the quality of the writing. 

Plate sees Bigoni using extended techniques, Solborg’s modulated ambient wash meshing seamlessly with every chirp and flutter before the piece dissolves into quietude. The saxophonist is even more outré on Wigwag, one of the few occasions where Solborg’s de-tuned guitar gets free rein, and all the while the piece is underpinned by an enigmatic  mechanical throb.

Rewriting the rules of contemporary chamber jazz, Solborg’s music is as vital today as Joe McPhee’s Po Music ensembles of the 90s.

Under Weather; Plate; Faggio; Simple Melody; Soy; Thread; WigWag; Miracle Beams Surrounding; Canto; Spacemen; Derailer / Rooms; Dole Over Beethoven (45.12) 
Francesco Bigoni (ts, cl); Mark Solborg (elg, elec); Emanuele Maniscalco (p, elp, kyb). September 2021, Copenhagen. 
ILK Music ILK338CD