Two years in the making – and teased by the terrific, titular, 45, Cosmica Italiana, back in 2020 – Lorenzo Morresi & Tenderlonious` tribute to Italian library music, in totality, is finally here. Tenderlonious is, of course, label, 22a`s boss, while Morresi can be found DJing between London (Brilliant Corners, Spiritland, Worldwide FM…) and Milano – plus producing high quality house music (check his recent-ish Le Bonheur – a dynamite dance-floor homage to feminist auteur, Agnes Varda, that was / is a favourite of The Insider). Both chaps are multi-instrumentalists, and their combined chops are on display, in full effect.
Aided and assisted by Archelao Macrillo, behind the drum kit, they bash out funk break after funk break, coloured by stuttered, tongued, flute, tasty tremolo`d twang and juice harp. Imagine Ennio Morricone scoring a “spaghetti” space opera. Sci-Fi synths – Rolands and Yamahas – signalling lift-off, as The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, is shot out into orbit, toward the stars. The keys, care of Emilio Merone, coming on like asteroid clusters, and meteorite showers.
In places proceedings are almost “disco”. Nuda Sorgente`s sweet Salsoul-esque arrangement, spinning, gyrating, like Silvetti`s Spring Rain – with added Cyclone TT-303 squelch. In others the tempo is slower, head-nodding. Tema Cinque, for example, rumbas to a rhythm super similar to James Mtume`s trademark Linn LM-1 tick, click, pop, and boom. Those cloned fractal frequencies tempered by swells of romantic strings. Tender swapping flute for sultry sax. Forging a future fusion somewhere between Ian O`Brien`s seminal Desert Scores, and Dam Funk.
There are ambient interludes. Techno breathers of bucolic bleeps. Beatless, save spiritual cymbal shimmer, atmospheres of winding, snake-charming woodwind, and precise, but playful, puckered guitar notes. Several tracks bare a strong Brazilian influence. Doppio Sogna hitting like a happy, horny, blues on a hot São Paulo summer night. The saxophone soaring, singing of possibility and adventure. Keys alternating between crazy scatting, and conjuring a calming, cooling breeze. Their cover of Bruno Martino`s standard, Estate, is a sublime samba, an out-and-out jazz dancer. Morressi`s axe taking the spotlight, a turn to shine. Rio represented in the tune`s melody and harmonies. 5AM tips its hat to Azymuth, while also paying its respects to acid house. Bursting, bubbling, effervescing, with silver box energy. Sorta Ruby Rushton plugged-in, gone electric. All the incredible playing, leading to an incredible finale. The organic virtuosity on Acqua artfully intertwining with sweeping, swooning, analogue arabesques.
Lorenzo Morresi & Tenderlonious`s Cosmica Italiana is out now, on 22a.