I really enjoy the way Alberto Rigoni soundtracks the themes he undertakes. If he was to decide the theme was war, the aggressions would flood his brain and his bass would become the weapon of the monstrosities. Conversely, it could be the stretcher on which the wounded were carried, or the sad tears of extreme loss. If he asks questions of the Universe, his bass will soar through vastness and eternity and instantly leave you weightless in the expanse. When he locks in on a theme, Rigoni rips it up from all angles; he’s not just presenting music to the listeners so they can understand the concept, but is also teaching himself along the way, making sure he, too, understands his feelings about the theme. Listening to his work is like listening to a movie soundtrack, and it’s a pretty small circle when it comes to musicians who score life’s questions as well as Alberto Rigoni.
Compared to his previous album, Three Wise Monkeys, Rigoni has gone from internal expression to a full-on, blasted-wide-open shouting commentary on the communication shock waves that electrocute our brains every day. Social Media, TV, and technology of all kinds. Cell phones that do so much more than make calls, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, CNN, Fox - the online life and its grip on our brains.
Remember Billy Joel’s tightly wound, pressure-cooker song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire”? A concept album in a single tune!
Overloaded is Rigoni’s way of telling us that Joel’s piece, and those like it, were just the beginning, only the stories of world events. Overloaded is the next phase. Through technology, how we perceive those events is the direct result of an intravenous electronic feed we absorb every day. What do we do with too much information?
Try Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein”. Anybody who knows the song knows it’s about some kind of monster. The exact kind of creature is yours for the taking. Drugs? The government? Police? Maybe just some big guy with bolts in his neck.
Focus gave us “Hocus Pocus” and we disappeared into the world of chicanery and pranks. Again, is the song about madness? Detachment? Being fooled by...?
As far back as I can remember, the musicians I admire most have always been the ones who ask questions, and leave the answers open to my own interpretations.
Overloaded is a collection that first asks the question, What's On Your Mind. The melody gives you time to sit down and contemplate the answer. Well, I’m thinking about bills, job security, the story of violence I saw on TV this morning. What about that person who un-friended me on Facebook? Ah, I never liked him anyway... I think. Right out of the chute, Rigoni draws you into the play by giving you an assignment. Where do you fit into the theme? The music is already uneasy and contemplative.
From the aggressive Overloaded and Chron to the melancholy Floating Capsule, we go from angry to sad in the blink of an eye, and understand how we can be left exhausted from being completely synapsed-to-death with TMI. For every human mood in this electronic onslaught, Rigoni creates the musical equivalent.
Corruption and Ubick are monstrous metal tunes that feel like the deepest part of the technology overload: pure saturation. We’re roaring down the highway, so in love with having the world at our fingertips. Thousands of likes, thousands of friends we’ve never met. Power through presentation, and everybody’s a star.
Multitasking is when we try to manage the power. Testament to the sacrifice that comes with the overload. We don’t talk or get together for coffee, but we seem so involved with the minutia of each other’s business and goings on. Or so it seems, anyway. We can do many things at once, but what about the ONE thing that needs our love and attention? Our focus? Liberation asks us to consider, “When is enough enough?” Does a single person in the modern world have the power to disconnect and go back to a more harmonious state with the other things around him or her? The world is the product of the energies of its inhabitants. The further we dive into the pool of electronic overload, the further we stray from Nature and the other beauty of our world. Liberation is a run for safety, but can one person do it alone if everybody else is still frizzled up on social media electrons? Do we all have to run together to break free?
Glory of Life is the album’s closer, and leaves us asking about the future. In what direction do we now travel? The music here goes back to the uneasiness of the beginning but adds a feeling of hope. We end with one of those tender touches of which Rigoni is a pro.
As a bassist, Rigoni is one of the most inventive creators I’ve ever heard. His talent is always up to the task of his Prog themes. This album is particularly intense and Rigoni sure knows how to get the messages across with that new Alusonic! (the Dingwall still makes an appearance, too) He pounds out complicated riffs and then drifts into disquieting passages that put you off balance. He ramps up the metal on his bass to a fever of aggression, and yet can tap those strings into a soothing lullaby. Overloaded is rich with mood in both musical composition and skill on the bass. I’ve said it before: Rigoni’s bass is the voice of the song in the absence of lyrics. It’s a second language in itself, and the man speaks it fluently.
© 2014 CL Seamus for Thunder Row
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