Jimmy Rosso - 32:32

10 songs
32:32 minutes
***** **


Jimmy Rosso sounds like the name of a character taken straight out of HBO’s epic gangster series Boardwalk Empire, but unlike the lead-shooting villains from the Prohibition-era West coast of the USA, Jimmy Rosso is a composer, cellist, keyboarder and vocalist from London who teaches music to kids. So you probably won’t find automatic machine guns in his violin case!

His first solo album is aptly titled 32:32, and even though the MP3 files I was sent add up to slight four seconds less, I won’t that have influence my judgement. As so often on Bearsuit Records, we are in the presence of an experimental artist, and while that label alone may scare away the more mainstream-minded readers, it needs to be said that Jimmy Rosso is a studied musician and thus is smart enough to package his strange musical visions into something quite listenable.

The opener We Desperately Need Friends starts with a threatening vibe, complete with Eighties sounding programmed beats over which lies a wobbly orchestral line and repeated vocal samples, combining the beautiful with the eerie in a mesmerising way. His ello craft is demonstrated perfectly on Undone, an initially mellifluous piece that soon starts incorporating truly weird vocal treatments. And while the pieces on this short album are quite diverse and range from sometimes not even two minutes long to occasionally breaking the four minute wall, they also have a lot in common. Jimmy Rosso is a master at combining the weird with the classical, and even manages to make it really hard for the reviewer to come up with comparisons. Maybe one could imagine Talk Talk teaming up with the Avalanches, but it probably makes more sense for you to listen to Jimmy Rosso that to make sense of what I just wrote. The shorter material feels more like odd miniatures while the longer tracks give the artist more space to unravel his at times catchier side.

When the album finally ends with the uplifting hymn Home, where even a children’s choir gets a part toward the very end, the listener is left with a lasting impression of a composer who really knows how to craft his very own music. It may at times not be an easy ride, but it has certainly a lot of redeeming value!

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