Claudio Scolari | Principal Records (2012)
Claudio Scolari's Project
Principal Records - CSMD05
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The very ECM-ish cover to this disc is not a matter of aping the competition but rather a signal to the consumer that herein resides music of an unusual nature, work outside the nesting boxes of trad and mainstream venues. I'm not sure what the Claudio Scoleri Project quite is, as the CD tells me that the unit appears on this CD "with Daniele Cavalca (drums vibes, piano, melodicica, bass) and Simone Scolari (trumpet)"…which leaves only Claudio (drums, percussion, synth, computer, flute) as the 'Project'. Hmmm. Well, we expect unorthodox musicians to be eccentric…I mean, after all, have you seen the way Anthony Braxton titles his opuses???—and this is most definitely an unorthodox release.
Ironically, perhaps the best term for the genre is 'bricolage' as Synthesis fuses many jazz, neoclassical, and avant garde factors within its seven cuts, none of them under 5 minutes, one clocking past 14. Edward Vesala, Circle, Braxton & Teitelbaum, Lester Bowie, and many a free or outside practitioner has perambulated in this domain; hell, some Raymond Scott even appears in Rituals! I often regard this kind of production as what vintage Salvador Dali, Georges DiChirico, or Max Ernst might distill were they musicians instead of painters. It's definitely surreal, pointillistic, and highly incidentalist. The baseline is richly percussive, some of the instruments sounding as though they just escaped a gamelon orchestra, and the entire tone is reminiscent of ECM's best early days, not to mention labels like Japo and Enja.
Unless you hang with some way cool aesthetes, you're going to make guests nervous if you play Synthesis over crumpets and tea, so I suggest you restrict it to those times when you're alone or accompanied by brainiacs with grey matter as pleasingly skewed as your own. The term 'psychedelic' is tossed around a bit too promiscuously of late in promotional and crit circles, but this is an example of the typification being adhesed properly (and if no one else is trundling it out here and now, I certainly am), as the disc is indeed a mindbending experience.