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Thursday, April 6, 2023

Filippo Abrate, Thomas Canna (12631 12 15421) – Kumbu-tse (MUPE, 2023)

By Guido Montegrandi

Kumbu-tse is an album made by two percussionists Filippo Abrate and Thomas Canna (who also plays modular synths) that do not like to show off, the tracks are all incredibly quiet and yet consistent with a constant flow and articulated rhythms. While the title makes reference to the first Himalayan peak west of Everest whose direct route is still unclimbed thus becoming a symbol of discovery and of goals to be achieved; name of their duo project :“142631 12 15421” surely needs some explanation.

Filippo Abrate says : “this code is the transposition of the alchemic motto “ambula ab intra” (walk/move from inside) made using the Chaldean numerology and refers to the effort of inner transformation that both Tomas (Canna) and I are carrying on”.

It is worth noting that according to the Chaldean numerology the whole universe in made of vibrations and each and every element in the universe produces its own frequency, so paraphrasing the Bard: music is such stuff as the universe is made on.

All of the music in this work has been thought for a percussion duo and then morphed to by the cooperation with Paolo Porta on the tenor sax.

In its final shape, it is framed by two symmetric pieces: Canto – Opening that makes you feel like arriving at a Tibetan monastery during a celebration: gongs and drones that slowly take the front stage dissolving into cosmic noises and Canto – Ending where again gongs and electronic drones tells you that the ceremony started some 35 minutes ago is about to end. Bells and gongs and hisses and a murmuring drone and silence.

In the middle a lot is happening; the pieces where the Porta plays ( FS 15/19; Improvisation 1, Transition, Implementation) are characterized by the lyrical voice of the sax which often seems to float on fragmented lines of percussions creating aery counterpoints. The two central duo pieces (Turbines and 142631 12 15421), are marked by a relevant presence of metallic percussions; as Abrate says “ we are fascinated by the sound and the rhythms of the gamelan orchestras and our sonic research often moves in that direction.”

The whole of this album testify an original way to think about percussions and produces a pleasant set of music.

Kumbu-tse is released by MUPE a small independent label created by Filippo Abrate himself and his friend Marco Belfiore (upright bass player) to try to develop an ecosystem around their work and their spiritual vision and to promote creative music. Considering the time and the space we are living in, this is something that deserves reporting.

Available to listen and download on bandcamp