Giacomo Merega (electric bass) leads this trio featuring Noah Kaplan (saxophone) and Marco Cappelli (guitars) in collaborative settings with pianist Anthony Coleman and Mauro Pagani (violin) on Watch the Walls Instead. This record presents a new iteration and continuation of the trio with Kaplan and David Tronzo from Merega’s critically acclaimed debut, the light and other things, described as “[conveying] a radiant emotionality,” (All About Jazz).
Gritty electro-acoustic textures sustain fractured rhythms and spidery lines in this kaleidoscopic album. In the elastic realm of improvisation, the musicians draw freely on the broad range of styles in which they are versed to create an abstract, evocative yet accessible music. The surreal, punk sci-fi short, On the Wings of the Dove, by esteemed poet and political candidate Sparrow, is the literary companion to the record, flashing a glimpse of a chaotic, character-filled futuristic world.
"There's something chilling and distinctly sci-fi about the atmospheric improvisations by bassist Giacomo Merega, guitarist Marco Cappelli and saxophonist Noah Kaplan on this stark, freewheeling affair. . . A startling display of spooky, tension-filled free jazz performed by a wide-open, deep-listening crew of mavericks." -- Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes
"It’s best enjoyed as a whole: you can get absolutely lost in this. While this isn’t catchy music by a long shot, it’s inescapably gripping, simply one of this year’s best jazz albums. It’s a must-own for fans of free jazz, and for anyone who plays improvised music, it’s packed with inspiration." -- Lucid Culture
"'Forgotten Corners,' by the full quintet, is a highlight, soprano and violin glissandi describing the terrain of a particularly eerie dreamscape. This is engaging work, in a constant process of self-definition, as unpredictable as one could hope free improvisation to be." -- Stuart Broomer, New York City Jazz Record
"Listening to Walls is a lot like listening to the soundtrack of a suspense thriller movie: the songs don’t proceed so much as they lurk. Like a series of extemporaneous conversations that can jump from one topic to the next more or less randomly, Watch the Walls Instead moves in ways not predetermined. It flows in directions guided by spontaneous human interaction. For a record like this, it’s best to go with that flow." -- Something Else! Music
"The interplay between Mr. Cappelli (on el. or acoustic guitar) and Mr. Kaplan (tenor or sop sax) and/or Mr. Coleman (piano) is always spirited and tight. On the trio piece, "Metal or Wood," it sounds as if Cappelli is using an e-bow to get that hypnotic sustain, which sounds an ethereal, dream-like sound. This entire disc sounds like a soundtrack to some late-night film noir or Italian science fiction flick." Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery