Covarino/Incorvaia – Granada.

I’ll put my hand up and say reviewing an improv release is probably not my forte. I have, in the past tried to get into improv. The likes of Bailey, Braxton, Rowe and others have passed in and out of my collection. Experimental electronic improv is probably easier to get a handle of due to it’s more flexible nature. When you are using more traditional instruments like drums and guitar it can be a bit trickier to, as a listener, not follow pre-assumed expectations of what the sounds will be like.

Covarino/Incorvaia are musicians Francesco Covarino (drums) and Alessandro Incorvaia (guitar), originally from Perugia in central Italy. Their debut release emerged last year on Poland to UK imprint Preserved Sound and was named after the artists’ hometown. Both artists grew up together and played in bands together but now find themselves in different countries. Alessandro based in London, UK and Francesco in Granada, Spain. Their follow-up album is named after the latter as they focused on a live and more improvised set as a duo, without the additional musicians included in ‘Perugia’.

They recorded this album over Christmas with their influences of Post Rock, Indie, Free Jazz and Ambient coming to notice. They chose not name the tracks, just like “Perugia’s” tracks titled “1” – “6” as to not put a prescribed theme to the album.

“Granada 1” opens with a distortion led drone with faint flickering in the background with Post Rock style guitar (think Slint of June of 44) looping with the first subtle padding of percussion appears without over powering the guitar. Francesco’s drumming starts to get a little more urgent but also in a jazz form while Alessandro’s guitar holds path before both musicians start experimenting for a short period before returning to the gentle patterns of the start.

“Granada 2” opens with percussive use of space and various Toms and cymbals before guitar makes its entrance inhabiting both a sense of space, but also holding the same post rock sound as the opener. Francesco’s drumming uses different paces and is mostly free form in the jazz tradition rather than in the sense of creating walls of sound with the symbols etc… While “Granada 1” was mote guitar focused, “Granada 2” sees the drums more central.

“Granada 3” opens up with guitar drone and the exact cymbals that were mentioned in the previous tracks. They shimmer and crash while the toms are beaten, bells are shaken as the drones stretch out before being joined by more guitar that ventures into almost post metal territory with the volume and heaviness which ends the track to silence.

“Granada 4” both guitar and drums start off this track and the percussion reminds me of Jim White of The Dirty Three and indeed Alessandro’s guitar is also Mick Turner-esque in it’s delicate strumming of the strings.

“Granada 5” sees the fluidity between the two musicians in that it doesn’t come across as an improv track, both the guitar and drum follow their same consistent, but separate paths that are fused together well with the pace of each musician machine the other. Harmonious drone also accompanies the track giving it a melody but obvious in the other tracks. Probably for it’s more cohesive nature this is the standout track.

“Granada 6” starts with slow spindly guitar strumming building up a rolling almost ale country come post rock piece that builds as this time both members are on guitar with Francesco playing classical guitar alongside Alessandro. Humming drones wraparound the guitars give them a dose of ambience and some distortion and compliments the guitars. A close second to “Granada 5” for standout.

“Granada” shows two musicians who are comfortable playing together to support each other as well as experiment around each other. It will be interesting to see where there paths continue to go in the future.

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