A poignant mixture of brutish and jazzy in “Bambara’s Symmetries,” viciously overdriven in “Translucent Dodecahedron,” or uncompromisingly emotional in “The Secret of Mansa,” the remarkable play isn’t always the most virtuosic in Ancient Cosmic Truth, but it is always the most defining element in this fascinating new release from Louis Siciliano. Virtuosity comes more in the form of compositional complexities, sonic texture, and organic tonality in Siciliano’s new record, and in terms of efficiency, his formula is one of the smarter I’ve come across lately. Ancient Cosmic Truth is pretty much everything its title would it imply it is, and among diehard audiophiles, it’s a great acquisition this January.
The tone of the fast and furious “Bambara’s Symmetries” and anthemic “The Secret of Mansa” comes off surprisingly strong considering how instrumentally focused they are, which is not common among tracks that have the kind of meat these two bear so openly. Texturally speaking, Siciliano’s lead is often as expressive as any lyric someone could have been singing to us here, and in situations like those presented to him in “Bambara’s Symmetries,” it’s the essence of his arrangement that shapes the narrative even more than verses ever could have. His is a multifaceted approach to songcraft, and if you can appreciate dexterous composing in general, it makes this record a tough one to put down once it’s been picked up for the first time.
I didn’t have the impression that grooves were the foundation of the melodies in “Translucent Dodecahedron” or the supersized “Bambara’s Symmetries;” in fact, quite the contrary. In more ways than one, Siciliano’s beats frame the more melodic instrumentation in this pair of songs, and in numbers like the title track and “The Secret of Mansa,” he doesn’t need any additional instrumental poetry to give us a thoroughly communicative performance. Ancient Cosmic Truth was designed for jazz diehards more than anyone else, and it couldn’t be arriving at a better time this year.
There are a lot of influences in play throughout this new record by Louis Siciliano. Traces of old guard jazz find their way into the mix of “Ancient Cosmic Truth” while “Translucent Dodecahedron” flirts with a more surreal brand of the genre, and I think it was important to this player to establish as broad a stroke in every included performance here (perhaps just as much as staying in tune was). The only consistency in the aesthetical framework, outside of the high-quality play from Siciliano himself, is full-circle songwriting; there are no fragmented sonic enigmas in this LP, but instead, complete works that tell us a lot about the man behind the board.
As far away from blasé pop as it gets, Louis Siciliano’s Ancient Cosmic Truth is an eclectic jazz enthusiast’s dream come true. This artist is more or less everything a musician’s musician should be in 2023, and he’s making the year’s soundtrack a heck of a lot more interesting. He’s made a fan out of me, and if given the chance, I think he’ll do the same for a lot of other jazz buffs as well.
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