Dati
Italy

By Elizabeth Wells

 
Dati's label likens this release to 'a great spider' with each of its legs in a different territory of dance music, and I really like this metaphor, as Italy crosses generic boundaries without ever compromising its sure and certain groove. I don't know whether this is his first album, but it looks as though Alberto Dati is already developing a definite identity even in the face of his seeming generic indeterminacy.

The album begins as it means to go on: Italy effects a languid musical groove with a complex layering of samples-including one of a man talking about going to the barber's – which is underpinned by a nice 1930s kind of dancehall melody. It's both comic and odd, and sets the tone for future tongue-in-cheek madness. The follower, Venerdi, comes across like some musical Mafioso elegy set to a chopped up drum'n'bass groove; the introduction of a funereal bell tolling at intervals gives the whole track a mock-mournful attitude.

Some of this album is just nice to dance to; the third track Night has a rich reverberating bass and nice crunchy breaks. I'm a Perfect Man has a warm, funky flavour, preceded by some provocative female mewling noises and interspersed with samples of a woman confessing that her ideal man should have a hairy chest, but most of all should 'respect his woman'. A lot of the time, here as elsewhere, Dati establishes one mood only to overthrow it with another in seconds, and the only trouble with this multi-textual, bite-sized approach is that it risks diluting the impact and alienating the listener, but this is a minor qualm, as there is enough here to maintain interest.
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