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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mick Rossi, 160

The modern-day studio set up has made it possible for one person via overdubbing to become his-her own ensemble, playing all the parts and providing the impetus for a new music personally and directly. The digital platform has made such creations virtually infinite, which has then created a need to know how far to take it, when to stop.

Mick Rossi knows. He was inspired to lay down an entire album of such self-expressions, which we have happily on the CD 160 (Innova 954). This is music that combines adventurous new music/quasi-post-electronic outpourings with a rhythmic drive that is at times infectiously rock-related.

For precedent Frank Zappa comes to mind in his later days. He too created a self-mobilized sound via his elaborate sampling-synthesis set up. The result was brilliant Zappa. Mick Rossi might be said to follow in Zappa's footsteps, but the result is quite originally his own, with its own sort of brilliance.

Mick for this set of 15 short, interrelated vignettes mans a piano, prepared piano, Farfisa, harmonium, drums, percussion, glockenspiel, guzheng, mbira, sampler, and dog toy. The album is a reworking of music Rossi did for the film Albi's Oboe.

There may still be purists who look down on this sort of virtual reality. I am not one of them. The point is the musical result and the process, while of course is critical, it is not in the end defining.

160 is filled with absorbing sequences of multi-part developments, made pleasingly retro-like through certain motifs, the Farfisa parts, microscopic detunings between instruments and a kind of analog ambience.

But for all that this is a step into a rock-new-music zone that is both convincing and forward moving. It is complexly contemporary and foot-tappingly immediate.

Since I too delve into self-realized musical terrains often enough I regard Mick as an important and very worthy colleague. His 160 gives us a most excellent listen, a pioneering adventure into electroacoustic futurism. Repeated hearings create a joy of recognition, which all important new music should be capable of. It is music to dwell inside, to make over onto one's musico-memory template.

Highly recommended!


  1. Well, I've certainly never heard anything quite like that! The closest comparator I can come up with is a less manic Paul Dolden. I like how Rossi is unafraid to try on different musical "hats" - the aping of the eponymous master in Dmitri, for example, is unmistakable.

  2. Yes Chris. He casts a wide net--or if you will has an inside connection in a hat shop--and comes up with varying shades of selfhood.