Saturday, February 11, 2023

Louis Siciliano


Rather than plying us with the typical flair that has become all too common among his scene and those attempting to penetrate it, Louis Siciliano is intent on giving us something a little more intimate in his new EP Ancient Cosmic Truth, and it all starts with his use of dueling melodic components, sax included, in “Bambara’s Symmetries.” Although it would have been simple to influence the rhythm with cadence, his beats ride the groove like an angelic entity atop a cloud, the instrumental center ascending towards the heavens rather casually rather than with any sort of force. This is most definitely a clandestine style of romantic songcraft, and it’s popping off in this EP like few critics could have predicted.   


The avant-garde and worldbeat influence in Ancient Cosmic Truth is undeniable, especially in “Translucent Dodecahedron” and the supple title track, but it never translates as coming from a place of arrogance. On the contrary, his style of delivery invites us closer to the melody, as if to ask us to dance beneath the spotlight instead of merely staring at it. There’s no arguing the presence Siciliano has in these tracks, and it’s too organic to be deemed anything other than spellbinding.  




Balance is one of the key themes in Ancient Cosmic Truth, particularly in “The Secret of Mansa” and “Bambara’s Symmetries,” in which instrumentation is meant to weigh evenly rather than allowing specific elements to captivate us with surreal prowess exclusively. What grabbed me here, at least from a compositional perspective, was the unnecessary attention to intricacy Louis Siciliano pays even the bottom-end textures that support him in any given beat. He’s a natural at this medium, and if there were any critics unsure of making such a statement beforehand, they need to hear this record for themselves to understand just what a gem he is at this point in his career.   


While studio recordings can bring forth some of the most creative aspects of an artist’s profile, bringing in the right creative minds to collaborate and expound upon conceptualism is something quite different, and I think Siciliano thrives off of the setting he’s presenting his material in here. He’s not reticent about digging into a hook; instead, he’s chasing after the fever pitch like it owes him something, and providing us with the sort of structure-bound backdrop that tethers his sound to that of the many greats in jazz before him. 


There are no two ways about it - Ancient Cosmic Truth is a marvelously stunning introduction to the music of Louis Siciliano, and if you haven’t already given it a listen this winter, I highly recommend you do as much before February is over. His style is like a cool pair of shades here, and if cultivated with the mainstream in mind, I have a feeling he’s going to give us some of the more remarkable, beat-driven content to come out of the underground in a long time. Simply put, this is the jazz record you need to acquire this month.  


Joshua Beach

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