Review: Tredici Bacci – The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta

(Cassette, NNA Tapes, April 2014)

The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta might be the most impressive release from the already eclectic roster of Burlintgon based label NNA Tapes. Recorded by Tredici Bacci, an orchestral ensemble of 14 (!) musicians from Boston under the direction of Simon Hanes, who also shows his wilder side playing bass in the deconstructo-punk unit Guerilla Toss. For Tredici Bacci, however, Hanes throws away abstract-punk leanings and dons a smoking, leading his orchestra through different shades of the 1960’s, recalling different film-related hypes and their soundtracks in all the vintage glory. A highly untypical yet oddly fitting release for NNA Tapes, this cassette is like a pill, transporting you to another era, when everything had that Technicolor tinge and the everything sounded strangely fake and cheap. Yet we love these times nad eagerly come back to classica Italian spy flicks, slasher hororrs or spaghetti westerns. This is what The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta is all about: evoking cinematic visions, being as imagination stimulating as possible.

And so: while the slow paced “Motto” presents a relaxing lounge tune, as if designed specifically for some slow Italian love-making, the funeral trumpet of western death-ballad “Lucertola” sounds like an invitation to a game of hangman, in which YOU are the hangman. The ghost of Ennio Morricone looms all over the place, putting a touch on the masterful execution by this Massachussetts 14-strong ensemble. The highlight of the cassette is “Lungo Ditchanza”, the 9 minute long baroque suite featuring ecstatic and operatic vocals by Sami Stevens, which sounds like Italian pop’s answer to Britain’s emerging progressive rock movement. And if you feel like dancing, the ending piece “Si No Questi Omo” is the answer for you: a fully instrumental, funky italo disco piece with a choral bridge that will make you shake your hips like it’s 1975 again.

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