Picture a post-apocalyptic world where isolated parties from remote parts the globe communicate with each other in empathy and harmony as they share common tales of struggle, survival and hope amid a bleak wasteland. Now imagine the soundtrack of this scenario and you’ve got a grasp on the groundbreaking music of Naked Truth.
The quartet’s riveting eight-track debut, Shizaru draws from such sources as Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, Bill Laswell, King Crimson (of which Mastelotto is an active member), avant-jazz, free-jazz, prog-rock and art-rock. What makes it wholly unique, however, is the unit’s creativity and chemistry and what Feliciati calls a “horizontal” approach to the music. He offers, “My intention was to have a ‘band’ project in which everyone has equal input, with me coordinating the music that the members send in from different corners of the world. Instead of a vertical approach, in which one instrument plays the melody or solos while the others provide support in the background, each voice is equal and contributes to the musical conversation as it moves along horizontally.” He continues, “Typically, a song would start with a bass riff or keyboard texture or percussion idea, and then each member would add whatever they felt was needed as the track came around to them; so it was the four of us playing and them improvising on each other’s playing-an eight-hands-on process!”
This mindset is instantly apparent on the opening track, “Faster Than an Automatic Door.” Feliciati kicks off one theme with his fuzz bass line, outlined by Powell’s ominous keyboard colours, as Cuong sounds a distant, remorseful second theme. Mastelotto’s subtle entrance defines the funky feel in Feliciati’s part. Suddenly, all four voices come together in an anguished cry, led by Cuong screaming at the top of his range. The peaks and valleys continue, with exploratory stepouts via free form trumpet, drum kit bursts, reverse effects, and reactionary Rhodes. Feliciati’s fretless is the lyrical lynchpin of the simmering “66,” with his percussive pops and sliding harmonics engaging Mastelotto’s slick stick work. What starts as an ambient wash with an angular pulse soon transforms into a metallic head-banging riff on the title track, “Shizaru;”
“Touching Corners” rides a muscular rock style for Cuong’s ethereal horn flights, contrasted by Powell’s brilliant, gradually-building acoustic piano track-equal parts Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor. All hands summon their best sonics on “The Naked,” with the resulting collective collage giving way to individual experimentalism via bubbling Rhodes, muted bass punch, bebop-borne horn hooks and Mastelotto’s meter manipulation. Concluding on a confident note, “Ahkton” breathes at a relaxed pace, with plenty of space surrounding subtle atmospheric contributions from all.
Lorenzo Feliciati : Basses, Guitars, Keys Cuong Vu : Trumpet and electronics Roy Powell : Fender Rodhes, Acoustic piano, Hammond and Keys Pat Mastelotto : Acoustic and Electric drums and Percussions Produced by Lorenzo Feliciati Composed , arranged and performed by Naked Truth during Spring/Summer 2010 Published by RareNoisePublishing (PRS) Additional musicians: Fabio Trentini : fretless bass, kalimba on “Shining Skin Syndrome” Mauro Colavecchi : tablas on “66” Drums and percussions recorded and engineered by p@ , at El` Rancho Patio, Dripping Springs Texas, USA Mixed by Lucrezio de Seta @ Headache studio, with additional mixing by Lorenzo Feliciati except “Shining Skin Syndrome”,”Ossimoro” and “Touching Corners” mixed by Fabio Trentini Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtletone studio, NYC Executive Producer for RareNoiseRecords : Giacomo Bruzzo Lorenzo thanks: Marco De Virgiliis and everyone at MarkBass, Mick Suyama, Rocky Oda and Akifumi Matsubara at Ibanez, Sebo, Giorgio, Roberto and everyone at Mogar. p@ thanks: John and Garrison at DW drums, Christian and Wayne at Paiste cymbals, Ben and Joe at Vic Firth sticks, Marco and Steve at Evans/D’addario, John at Hammerax sounds, Bill Saragosa, Tim and Steve at Roland USA, Evan at Korg, Adam at M-Audio, Silvano at Drum Art and Ricardo at Parradrums. Artwork and Design : Petulia Mattioli