EVERY NOW AND again, I get sent an unsolicited review copy of an album that inadvertently gets shoved into the wrong pile and forgotten about. The other day, I fished Duga-3, a vinyl record that’s one of only 200 in the whole world, out of one such pile. The minute needle hit groove, I felt ashamed for the inattention. It’s really, really good.
Aucklander Gianmarco Liguori is billed as ‘musical director’, although he also contributes on no less than five different instruments. It’s fair to say, however, that Liguori’s real accomplishment is in providing a canvas for legacy jazz musos Murray McNabb (various keyboards, flute) and Kim Paterson (percussion, trumpet) to paint their sounds.
I don’t know quite what possessed Liguori to do so down here at the bottom of the world but, in collaboration with his musical co-conspirators, he’s made a world-class prog-rock-ambient-disco-noir homage that’s quite a delight from beginning to end.
‘Cosmic Protrusion’ sounds like a forgotten gem from some Italian movie set sometime in the ‘70s with its spaced synth, and pulsing electronic groove. ‘Energy Wind’ could be ‘70s astral-jazz-rock fusion, with its European-sounding electric piano, tumbling basslines and splashing symbols; but then again, we shouldn’t forget that McNabb was a member of ‘70s jazz-rock group Dr Tree.
‘Indian Milk’ could be a track from some obscure Japo (defunct sub-label of the celebrated ECM) label world music/ambient fusion, while ‘5AM-PRN-KSV’ comes from a deep dream place where voices are half-heard and guitars a naturally turned to strange tunings.
‘Translucent Formlessness’ and ‘Primitive Nightmare’ up the strange quotient with wiggly synths, backwards guitars and psych echoes respectively.
Apparently Sarang Bang Records are “specialists in the psychological and physiological applications of music.” That may just be a joke, but Duga-3 is an impressive album that stands on its own, while its lineage is clearly in the kind of questing yet entertaining fusions examined particularly in places like Italy and Germany in the ‘70s.
Oh, and the pressing is really quiet. GARY STEEL
Sound = 3.5
Music = 3.5