PS5 ‘Unconscious Collective’ LP (Hyperjazz) 4/5

‘Unconscious Collective’ is the new quintet project from Pietro Santangelo under the guise of PS5.

The new album from Italian saxophonist, producer and composer, Santangelo, has found such an apt home through the Italian Hyperjazz Records – a label that’s committed to presenting new perspectives in contemporary jazz through a variety of genre-defying and genre-defining projects. Or, as detailed via the Hyperjazz Bandcamp page, “Beyond genres, leaning towards musical mutation and social evolution”. The three-track ‘Studio Session’ EP by Phresoul featuring TJ Scratchavite, for example, is an adventure into exploring multiple avenues for creating music from varying between analogue and digital techniques to live sampling through a video presentation; there’s the decidedly 80s soundscapes of Kidd Mojo’s ‘Dionysia’, or the electronica-styled hip-hop beat tape by Trrmà, ‘Mixtape Vol. I’.

Hyperjazz seem to thrive not just in showcasing music that challenges the listener but also in showcasing music that challenges the artist in its creation as well – to explore untapped sounds, genres and to blur borders. Pietro Santangelo’s ‘Unconscious Collective’ has definitely found itself the right home and is a project that embodies these inspired and daring values.

Famous for his contributions as part of the “progressive gypsy eclectic jazz group”, Slivovitz, who have chalked up five album releases by the time of this writing, Santangelo has also headed up his own trio project called – I’m sure you can guess already – PS3. As part of the ensemble recruited for ‘Unconscious Collective’ however, Santangelo has pulled together an excellent array of musicians, many of which comprise of long-time collaborators like bassist Vincenzo Lamagna and drummer Salvatore Rainone who have secured their places amongst not just Slivovitz but also PS3. Alto and baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Giroffi joins the fray along with percussionist Paolo Bata Bianconcini with band leader Santangelo providing tenor and soprano sax duties and serving as the project’s composer and arranger.

A revered improviser, much of that associated energy is masterfully captured by Santangelo and the team throughout this album. With compositions continuing in that Hyperjazz style of joyful exploration, the musicians seem to celebrate the luxury of the playground afforded to them as members of PS5 – the slow build of ‘Sempre Dodici’ marks a distinct album highlight as does the unbridled energy of ‘Idris’ and ‘Transe Napolitaine’ that genuinely seem to leave themselves open to potential broken beat reinterpretations. The sublime ‘Šulūk’ takes the album down new avenues once again rounding out the versatility of such a fantastic project.

Imran Mirza