When last we spoke of Alberto Rigoni's music, we were delving into his second solo album, Rebirth. I had confessed to being unaware of his music prior to Rebirth and chose it since it was hot off the presses. Needless to say I ended up being duly impressed.
I thought I'd finish up my look at his solo works by going back to the beginning. Something Different (2008) represents Rigoni's first foray into a solo bass album.
If Rebirth represented one man's inward look at the changes in his life, Something Different feels more outwardly focused. Though his heart's footprint is still all over the tracks, Something Different seems to be more about how "Rigoni Faces The World" rather than Rebirth, which was how "Rigoni Faces Rigoni." Both angles work, however, and give the listener a good close-up look at how this musician uses the bass guitar to tell his stories.
The ten songs run the gauntlet of technique and style.
The Factory - It's a rising, definitive bass melody, speedy and rapid-fire. You get the idea you're entering a new, unseen world. With the bass as lead, the guitar, drums, and synthesizers find their way into the mix around what it does. Toward the end, the bass retires, and the synth has its way with our ears. The song features studio sweeps and pans and - listened through headphones - is a wild treat for the inside of your head. Picture yourself standing in a cold, stark room - overlit and empty but for you. The synth ending of The Factory is how that would sound to your brain.
Trying To Forget - Dropping off the edgy, experimental tension of The Factory, Trying To Forget is down low and very pensive. Blended with rich tapping harmonies, it's one of the most moving bass solos I've ever heard. Rigoni never fails to deliver the goods on beautiful melodies. He understands his instrument and knows how to let it speak. Beautiful piece. Glory Of Life - This is a bold, expressive declaration of music and the world through its eyes. Here, the bass shares the spotlight with the rest of the instruments. Everybody should enjoy the glory of life, yes? Great, raunchy guitar! Fabulous little synth goodbye on the end!
SMS - A modern, techno-like popper, with a bouncing bass foundation and strong, overlapping melodies. Though not as intense as some of the other songs on the album, this is one of those tunes whose infectious sound can get stuck in your head. After hearing this one, I found myself humming the melody as I tended to other things. Infectious always works.
BASSex - To most bass players, the ax itself is a very sexy thing. This song leaves you feeling (among other things) that this is 100% true. One thing I noticed here is that the progressions start high and then lower down to the bottom. Pink Floyd used to do that all the time. Everything in their progressions was descending. It's the same here, except that Rigoni's descent is not into a Floydian dungeon of internal torment, but rather into full "getting down" mode (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Irene Ermolli provides the vocals and Rigoni - well - provides the fingers. Is he hot for the girl, or is the bass itself the girl in his life? Intense song, for sure!
One Moment Before - I can't help but wonder if this smooth little bass interlude is simply the relaxation after our hot-tempered foray that was BASSex. Hmm. At any rate, at about 90 seconds, One Moment Before relaxes the listener and cleanses the palate for what's about to happen.
Roller Coaster - This song absolutely blew me away. It's an industrial piece, with Daniele "Kenny" Conte on vocals (all distorted and electronically processed, of course). Rigoni's bass carries you to the top of the coaster and then boots you off the other side. As aggressive as the song itself!
Desert Break - Rigoni in the lab, experimenting with some great bass licks, set to a clickety-clack of drums. All about feeling and style.
Jammin On Vocal Drums - Slick, bouncy bass number with a tasty guitar to boot!! Enrico Buttol does the vocal drum sounds. Lotsa style in this one. Very playful.
Sweet Tears - The album closes with another gorgeous and melodic bass expression, accompanied by a sweet keyboard. The depth of this song's gentle melody can take you a bit by surprise the first time you hear it, and the sweet tears you shed while listening can be for anything you want: the birth of a baby, the relaxed death of a beloved pet while cradled in your arms, the majesty of a sunrise. Just let it happen and take in the awesome possibilities of the bass.
On the album, Alberto comments, “I wanted to compose a solo-oriented album, without following any scheme, rule or trend, but I kept myself open to various musical genres and I invited some musicians friends of mine to collaborate in this project. Although I am in a progressive rock band, in my album I tried to reach a freer and more poetic musical expression that matched to my melodic sensitivity. I therefore think that the album is accessible and can be appreciated by every kind of listener and not just by bass players”.
I heard that . Alberto Rigoni uses the bass for emotion. When he plays, he finds a way to give those emotions a voice through his songs. From the urgent message of BASSex, through the breathtaking wonder of Glory Of Life, all the way to Sweet Tears, Something Different is exactly that...almost without genre or stereotype. It's just good music.
Alberto's two solo albums, Rebirth, and Something Different are available through his website and from online stores, both as digital downloads and CDs.
Videos from Something Different can be found on Alberto Rigoni's YouTube page.
© 2012 CL Seamus for Thunder Row
All songs written and composed by Alberto Rigoni, except for tracks 3, 7 & 10 composed by Alberto Rigoni & Lorenzo Nizzolini
Producer: Alberto Rigoni
Co-producers: Enrico Buttol & Lorenzo Nizzolini
Mixed and mastered by Marino De Angeli at Majestic Studio (Scorzè, TV - Italy)
Alberto Rigoni's pics: Alessandro Eusebi
"Abstract Smoke" pic: Jamie Duke
"Smoke Female Figure" pic: Akhilesh Sharma
"PsychoBabble" pic: Shawn Cope
Photo editing: Davide Guidoni
Graphic design: Nicolò Luppino
Alberto Rigoni: bass
Lorenzo Nizzolini: keyboards on tracks 1, 3, 6, 7 & 10
Enrico Buttol: drums on tracks 3 & 5, e-drums on tracks 4 & 7, vocal drums on track 9
Marco Torchia: e-drums on track 1
Tommy Ermolli: guitar on tracks 1, 3 & 7
Daniele Gottardo: guitar on track 9
Irene Ermolli: vocals on track 5
Daniele "Kenny" Conte: vocals on track 7