The Dining Rooms ‘Do Hipsters Love Sun (Ra)?’ (Schema) 4/5

AV1248.AIf you’re after contemporary electronica, film score landscapes, RZA-type textures, trippy funk rhythms with touches of jazzy moments – then this is the album for you!
The Dining Rooms are a Milan-based duo comprised of Stefano Ghittoni and Cesare Malfatti that have been active since the late 1990s, but they seem to have slipped under the radar with many music listeners, even though they have released over 10 albums during this time. For this release, they call upon the services of other Italian artists, musicians and producers, including Sacri Cuori, Bruno Dorella as well as UK Vibe favourite Jessica Lauren on keyboards.
With Do Hipsters Love Sun (Ra)? The Dining Rooms explore, as mentioned, a variety of styles, genres and musical ideas but not in a contrived way. The blending of sounds is effectively achieved and not difficult to absorb, which is probably due to the high calibre of musicianship used. The 15 tracks contain eight that are under three minutes in length, with the longest clocked at four minutes exactly – so never a dull moment! But the album is not what I would call ‘experimental’ by any means, but it does contain sonic ideas not realised by most current artists.
Describing the album is actually quite difficult due to the differing palette of sounds used, but if soundtrack composer Clint Mansell produced a film score that was slightly funky, then this is what it may sound like. So there are no DJ play out tunes here, but a gathering of engrossing instrumentals that draw in the listener. Therefore it’s difficult to emphasise specific tracks here as I feel that the album is best listened to in its entirety, but worthwhile pieces include the Zero 7-ish ‘Love Story, the brooding ‘Interstellar’ and the Weather Report influenced Appuntamento Su Marte. And note that ‘Space Is The Place’ is not a cover of the Sun Ra classic (or the Jonzun Crew 1983 electro anthem for that matter).

If you have an open mind then you cannot dislike this album as it’s far too interesting and absorbing and not something that a listener would get tired of easily. Nonetheless, it isn’t perfect and I would have liked longer track lengths and the guitar work could have been more intricate, but overall this is a strong release from the Italian group and should definitely be tracked down.

In addition, the Schema record label, which is also Milan-based, should be applauded for releasing albums of this nature especially as it’s available physically in both CD and vinyl formats and not just digitally.

Damian Wilkes