Antonio Raia in “Asylum” (Clean Feed Records)
The tenor saxophone explored to its limits, its voice "undressed from the superfluous" and used as a refuge, a shelter, an “asylum” as the title suggests.
Conceived and recorded in a 17th century ex-orphanage in the heart of Naples, and retaining all of the volcanic feel, intensity and heart wrenching beauty of the city, "Asylum" is the first work by Raia in three years and sounds as something unique, very different from anything he did before (included his collaborations with the likes of Adam Rudolph, Elio Martusciello, Chris Corsano, Alvin Curran).
Moving around (and playing with the space between) 10 microphones displaced in the orphanage refectory by sound engineer/electro-acoustic composer Renato Fiorito, Raia's saxophone is raw, impetuous as well as poetic and romantic. His compositions are based on graphic scores or written notes, frequency indications or pure improvisations; in a few episodes he deals with the musical tradition of his hometown, offering very personal, almost abstract (and somehow freed of the weight of history), versions of classics "Torna a Surriento" and "Dicitencello Vuje". And he does the same with the jazz standard "Misty".
The tracks feature no effects, overdubs or post-production tricks, the nakedness of the sound being as much an aesthetic as a cultural and "political" choice for an album that aims to reflect the human search for empathy, freedom and joy ("Refugees", "The Children In The Yard").