Massimo Discepoli, the Perugian drummer/multi-instrumentalist whose previous work has encompassed a particularly active variety of ambient electronic music, returns with Last Year the Next Day. As with 2019’s highly enjoyable release Right Place on the Wrong Map, Last Year the Next Day features Discepoli crafting sonically rich, well-structured pieces with a variety of instruments. (Full disclosure: Discepoli’s label Acustronica has released several of my recordings, and I had the pleasure of collaborating with him on 2016’s An Eclipse of Images.)
Unlike Right Place on the Wrong Map, which was centered on floating layers of sound, Last Year the Next Day pushes beyond an emphasis on atmospherics and draws its inspiration from the less ethereal genres of progressive rock, post-rock, and jazz fusion. The foundation of all of the music on Last Year the Next Day is Discepoli’s standout, muscular drumming, but here it’s just one element, if a vitally important one, within a highly colorful and meticulously layered array of sounds from guitars, electric bass, various electronics and of course percussion of different kinds. Percussion plays a large role, not only in setting out rhythms but, by way of Discepoli’s skillful use of xylophone, tubular bells, kalimba and other tuned percussion—particularly on pieces like Pattern of Change and The Meaning of Floating–in carrying melody as well. Some of the tracks, such as Remains of a Reflection, recall some of Discepoli’s earlier, more ambient work, but recontextualized through restlessly shifting rhythmic undercurrents.