Colin Edwin and Lorenzo Feliciati – Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach to the Dancefloor [TrackList follows] – RareNoise RNR098 46:06 [10/26/18] ****:

What do you get when a project involves two bassists? Lots of bass, of course. But when an album includes Colin Edwin (who was a member of British progressive rockers Porcupine Tree from 1993 to 2011) and Lorenzo Feliciati (quartet Naked Truth; he’s also played in studio and on stage with Bob Mintzer (Yellowjackets), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Cuong Vu (Pat Metheny Group), and others), then a lot of interesting things occur. The 46-minute, ten-track Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach to the Dancefloor is the sophomore release from Edwin and Feliciati’s ongoing Twinscapes collaboration and is the follow-up to the duo’s self-titled RareNoise debut. Don’t let the subtitle fool you. While there are rhythms which might fit someone’s idea of dance music, this is not club-friendly material. This is free-flowing improvisational music with prog-rock inclinations. Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach to the Dancefloor was issued as a gatefold, 12-inch heavyweight vinyl LP; as high-quality, download digital formats; and as a four-panel CD digipack. This review refers to the CD version.

In a nutshell, Twinscapes Vol. 2 pays homage to specific 1980s icons as well as pushing the boundaries of contemporary progressive rock. Some pundits decry ‘80s music, but Edwin and Feliciati found much to inspire them, including early-80s Weather Report; the Talking Heads (particularly the Remain in Light LP and tour); the art rock/new wave band Japan; and others. One thing each group had in common was great bassists like Japan’s Mick Karn, Weather Report’s Jaco Pastorius, Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth (who was bolstered on tour by bassist Busta “Cherry” Jones) and related bassists from the era. You won’t find synth-enlaced tunes on Twinscapes Vol. 2 but there is plenty of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic bass. This project is not a two-man showcase. Edwin and Feliciati are supported by drummer and percussionist Roberto Gualdi; and guests are on certain tracks.

Twinscapes Vol. 2 opens with the upfront “Tin Can” which is the closest the group gets to a dance floor tune. The groove nods to 1970s Krautrockers Can, although the production conjures ‘80s studio efforts. While both bassists punctuate the “Tin Can” arrangement with massive bass grooves, Feliciati also slips in keyboard and guitar. The forward-looking fusion number “Future Echo” has portions of Feliciati’s overdubbed guitars as well as Gualdi’s drums and percussion which at times are layered through digital effects. “Future Echo” is a bit like King Crimson going into new wave territory. Other areas of prog-rock filter through the densely-constructed “Precipice,” which features guest flutist Reuben Balch, and the album-closing fusion-esque “Heat Collision,” where Balch switches to alto saxophone.

If Twinscapes Vol. 2 was only about groove and rhythm, it would be a tiring trek. The proceedings are balanced by the moodier “Bedroom Corner,” which includes Feliciati’s acoustic piano introduction as well as atmospheric digital design sounds, percussive slices and engaging bass tones. During “Bedroom Corner” Edwin negotiates the melody on fretless bass while Feliciati holds up the groove. There’s also a slow build-up on the pop-tinted “In a Daze,” highlighted by Feliciati’s tiered, distorted guitars which evoke Robert Fripp’s stylistics. Gualdi demonstrates his percussive skills on the exotically-sharp “Ghosts of Tangier,” his solo writing credit. While Gualdi assembles a drumming crescendo, Edwin and Feliciati improvise textural parts which foster a unified soundscape. The most fascinating track is “Severing Suns,” which mixes chord voicings, Gregorian-like chanting, prominent fretless bass and some experimental moments. The arrangement is reinforced by a heady groove from the twinned basses and the drums. If anyone is a fan of contemporary electric bass and prog-rock/fusion, Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach to the Dancefloor is a must-hear.

Performing Artists:
Colin Edwin – fretless bass, rhythm design, programming, ebow; Lorenzo Feliciati – fretless and fretted bass, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar, sound design; Roberto Gualdi – drums, percussion; Andi Pupato – percussion and metallics (track 8); Reuben Balch – flute (track 6), alto saxophone (track 4)

TrackList:
Tin Can
Severing Suns
Bedroom Corner
Future Echo
In a Haze
Precipice
Ghosts of Tangier
The (next) Level Think
In a Daze
Heat Collision

—Doug Simpson

More info and track samples at RareNoiseRecords website:

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