CD/digital, VesnaHaus, 2009
Since the early ’90s, Dario Elia has followed his own approach to music. Based out of Cagliari, Italy, this musician, singer, composer, photographer, writer and art curator has his fingers in many pies. Ranging from ambient jazz quartet, live electronica post–jazz to sound installations, he explores various musical ideas.
“Vie Impervie” is an album from his quartet, which is a melancholic blend of avant-garde and atmospheric jazz. Imagine a slow, languid sunset with the occasional burst of energy thrown in. This is the feel of the ambience in this album. The production is well crafted and the album flows organically from track to track. However, there are moments that make you feel that some songs would be better served if they were arranged as two separate tracks instead of a singular piece.
The vocals are laid back, in an almost classic slow jazz style, and the samples and loops blend subconsciously with the live instruments. There is an especially high level of musicianship throughout. In particular, the guitar stands out, with moments that would make you think Carlos Santana was the guitarist, not Dario himself. The tracks “Fra Noi” and “Tre Anime” are two of these moments, with guitar work very reminiscent of Santana’s style.
For fans of ambient jazz, this release would fit well into your music collection. If you’re not, however, you may find this a little difficult to appreciate, though it may be a good starting point to expand your musical horizons. Overall, this is a well crafted album with some very creative ideas – perhaps a little too avant-garde for some jazz aficionados and not experimental enough for others.
— M. J. Phillips