Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Artist: Stefano Panunzi (@)
Title: Timelines
Format: CD
Label: RED (@)
Distributor: S{d (Silenzio distribuzione)
Rated: *****

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Italian keyboard player, composer and producer Stefano Panunzi is not one who does things half way: disregarding all the constraints and restraints that a place like Italy puts on musicians' ability to play good music, he put together a great debut record (tracked between Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan and mixed/mastered in Italy) that looks, feels and sounds a lot more mature than what most debut records usually do.The eleven tracks of "Timelines" deliver a thick load of progressive influences blended in with electronica, downtempo, rock and jazz that fans of David Sylvian, Japan, Jansen, Barbieri & Karn, King Crimson, Mark Isham, Porcupine Tree, No Man, Marco Polo, Indigo Falls etc will surely appreciate. What sets this album apart is the fact that for almost every band I just mentioned there is a special guest appearance of one of thier members: Mick Karn (Japan, Rain Three Crow) kicks in the high gear on several songs of the album with his round, funky and remarkeably fusion extraordinary bass playing; Gavin Harrison's (Dizrhytmia, Porcupine Tree, Mick Karn) elegant drumming spices things up and locks in with Karn's performance; Haco (Happines Proof, Hoahio, Kam-pas-nel-la, Mescaline Go-Go, After Dinner, Guigou Chenevier) adds a sweet and soft female touch with her sensual Bjork-ish vocals; Peter Chilvers (No Man, A Marble Calm, Bowness/Chilvers, Henry Fool, Darkroom, Alias Grace) adds his string textures to a dreamy and ethereal track; Mike Applebaum (Randy Brecker, Stan Getz, Gil Evans, Leonard Bernstein, Ennio Morricone, Ivano Fossati) delivers a reverberated, moody, relaxed, rapturing, genuinely british-sounding flugelhorn performance; Sandra O'Neill (Alias Grace, A Marble Calm, Bernard Hoskin) and her vocal qualities take the opening track to the poppiest place the record goes to; Markus Reuter (Centrozoon, Europa String Choir, Pat Mastellotto), who readers of Chain D.L.K. are quite familiar with because of his amazing work with Centrozoon reviewed on these pages, plays his warr guitar (a touch-style instrument that very few play or know how to play). In addition to all the international guests, Panunzi recruited some of the finest locals, such as: Nicola Alesini (Glen Velez, Hans Joachim Roedelius, David Sylvian, Roger Eno, David Thorn, Harold Budd, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri), who delivers a deep clarinet (and answering sax) performance that really reaches new heights when coupled with Stefano's intense and nostalgic keyboard playing; Daniele Iacono (Jovanotti, Tiromancino, Ron, Paola Turci, Niccolò Fabi, Aladnah, Daniele Groff) plays drums on a few tracks; and Giacomo Anselmi (Antonello Salis, Dario Deidda, Nuova Tribù Zulù) enriches the opening track with some good old acoustic guitar strumming and electric riffs as well. The list goes on and on: Fabio Fraschini, Nicola Lori (bass); Angelo Strizzi, Giampaolo Rao, Diego Mancini (drums), Giancarlo Erra, Nicola Lori (guitars); Rima (spoken voice); Laura Pierazzuoli (cello).It's very rare to find so much talent in one record, but Stefano Panunzi decidedly and pretty much single-handednly (no pun intended!) delivered a great-sounding, refined, sophisticated and very engaging album, the quality of which is truly amazing and impressive, and will hopefully instantly place Stefano Panunzi in the high-fly zone.