Calibro 35 ‘Decade’ (Record Kicks) 5/5

Celebrating their tenth year with this their 6th long player, Italian 5 piece band, Calibro 35, present ‘Decade’ a no expense spared across all formats 11 tracker running at a classic 48 minutes in what can only be described as an all out assault melange of cosmic freakout jazz, progressive and alternative hip hop grooves and outer space prog synth funk jamming, a pure instrumental album with a wall of sound production.

The first four tracks are a ‘set in stone’ romp through 70s style action TV series background music, the kind of TV that was American produced yet became staple watching for millions during afternoons and early evenings throughout the western world, for example all those wonderful background mini scores playing throughout episodes of Streets Of San Fransico, The Persuaders, Hart To Hart (er, OK), those kind of gritty, funky, organ and wah-wah guitar led pieces of musical art and these first four tracks, although very enjoyable to listen to, a nostalgic trip back in time -and it has to be said superbly played and executed ultra professionally without a doubt- are in danger perhaps of tempting one into believing that the remaining 8 tracks will be of same stock, well, sort of but it’s track 4 and onwards that to this listener’s ear the album finds its own identity and conceptual originality and thus begins a more experimental journey, a fuller cinematic approach with on occasion parts of the remaining tracks nodding back a glimpse to the three track opener.

Keyboards play a crucial role throughout these scores, you will hear a multitude of big brand synths and organs such as the Roland Juno, The Minibrute, The Prophet5, The Wurlitzer organ, my gosh I am within my own musical sweet shop hearing all these key’s, other instruments are provided by an array of guest musicians such as Vibrophones and Glocks, the Viola, Flutes, Trombones, Saxes, Cello, the Clarinet, all real and played with absolute passion, and of course the backbone; the drums and bass keeping it all together in an all out riddim assault.

My highlight tracks? Well let’s begin then with track 4 with its laid back and funky drumming featuring the very cool sounding ride cymbal of Fabio Rondanini and rolling bass of Luca Cavina on the piece entitled ‘Pragma’, with its lovely surrealist guitar work by Massimo Martellotta and early 70s style Floydian organ workout complete with full brass ensemble, then a piece called ‘Modular’ with its low slung groove, dystopian synths and wubba wubba bass splendor underpinned by a very infectious foreboding flute, deep piano and ghostly guitar effects, a sort of trip hop dystopian dub but not dub with slight echo’s of the guitar style one hears in certain pieces from ‘The Wall’ album, then there is the sub psychedelic piece ‘Polymeri’ although disappointingly short running at just over 2 minutes it’s a real experimental wonder, I wonder where the band could have taken this piece with another 4 minutes added to it..? Possibly past the moon. Then there is the magnificent 7 minute ‘Modo’, a one stop shop of creativity and playing, a funky jazz workout with dark synth chords, piano and again with full brass and wind ensemble. The final track on the album is a nice wind down and laid back Airesque sounding piece entitled ‘Travelers’ as we drift off into a voyage of our own before the next episode of something 1970s. An album excellently delivered, very interesting and passionately played.

Formats: The single from the album ‘Super Studio’ b/w ‘Gomma’ is available as limited edition 7″ black vinyl, the album itself is available as a limited edition Gatefold cover clear vinyl and on black vinyl, plus a limited edition Cassette tape and digipack CD and of course as download. For your own journey into a musical sweet shop of format bundles, player and studio credits check out their Bandcamp page.

Gibsy Rhodes