AMN Reviews: Luca Collivasone & Gianni Mimmo – Rumpus Room [Amirani Records AMRN #064]

Over the course of his career, Pavian soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo has recorded a good number of duets with a wide variety of musicians. On Rumpus Room he plays with someone who surely must be one of his most unusual duet partners: Luca Collivasone. What makes Collivasone unusual is in part his eclectic background, which includes classical guitar, electronic sound design, and rockabilly, but also his choice of instruments for this recording: the Cacophonator. The Cacophonator is an instrument Collivasone built himself from an old Singer sewing machine he bought from a junk shop; it is a unique hybrid of strings, springs, buttons and miscellaneous electronics and mechanisms that can sound like steel drums, pizzicato cello, a primitive synthesizer, or a drum machine. Producing for the most part sonorities rather than melodic material, it largely provides the field against which Mimmo’s saxophone is the figure. And Mimmo certainly responds to its unconventional stimulus in creative ways: ordinarily playing with a highly refined, rounded tone, here he plays instead with an unusually keen edge and a focus on pure sound and extended technique as well as melody. The combination of Collivasone’s and Mimmo’s two voices on this recording is astonishingly successful; open ears will be well-rewarded.

Daniel Barbiero