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Paolo Fresu

Mistico Mediterraneo

(ECM; US: 22 Feb 2011; UK: 31 Jan 2011)

Mistico Mediterraneo isn’t a Paolo Fresu album, exactly. It’s more like Paolo Fresu introducing the Corsican choral group A Filetta to western ears through the ECM label’s demographic. And it really is quite unsettling to hear this seven-man group’s occasionally strange harmonies and frighteningly uniform attack floating in a pool of reverb. Daniele di Bonaventura provides most of the instrumental framework on his bandoneon, while Fresu chimes in on his trumpet intermittently or not at all. Most of the 13 songs here were composed by members of the A Filetta group, so the resulting texture—two instrumentalists pitted against seven voices—is all the more surprising. These elements mesh together almost perfectly, though, and excavating the true origin of any one composition will be hard for those who don’t live on an island in the Mediterranean. But it wouldn’t hurt to try, now would it?

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