** 300 copies, one-time pressing. ** For more than a decade, the Milan based imprint, Black Sweat, has been a unavoidable force in the musical landscape, producing a catalog of ambitious, forward-thinking recordings - contemporary, archival, and reissue - traversing temporal boundaries and a diverse number of idioms and practices, including crucial offerings by Futuro Antico, J.D. Emmanuel, DSR Lines, Ariel Kalma, Maurizio Abate, Wayne Siegel, Telaio Magnetico, Don Cherry, and so many more. Now, as 2021 comes to a close, they’re back with one of their most mysterious records to date, a self-titled LP of heavy psychedelic spiritual jazz jams from Fusione, a contemporary ensemble of unknown membership and numbers, hailing from Milan. Hypnotic, infectious, and often funky as hell, it’s a pure joy manifest in sound and one of the most captivating records to unexpectedly come out of left field this year.
All we know for certain about about Fusione is that the group came together in June 2015 at Guscio Studio in Milan and embarked upon a collective jam, captured across the two sides of the self-titled debut LP. The only other hint comes from the brief mention of “faryds folks”, implying that this may be an offshoot or share membership with Al Doum & The Faryds, the open ensemble that includes Black Sweat label head Davide Domenichini and a rotating cast of incredible players (Andrea Catagnoli, Ivan Cosenza, Lorenzo Farolfi, Matteo Saro Saronni, Stefano Tamagni, etc.), that has delivered five astounding LPs of internationally minded hybrid sounds over the last ten years, and stands among the most exciting projects that’s working in Italy today. While who has delivered these sounds remains unclear, the sonic connection is undeniable. All the joy and depth - taking a cosmic journey into the grooves - of Al Doum & The Faryds has found its mirror in Fusione.
Launching toward outer-space with repetitive rhythms, modal tones, and deep chants and howling vocalizations, Fusione’s debut immediately ventures into territory beloved of fans of Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders, pushing outward with handblown fire and passages of inspired, druggy improvisation, interspersed with moments of heavy funk driven rhythms and deep grooves. As the album evolves, the bands moves across stunningly diverse array of territories - acoustic jams with Indian classical flavours and experimental temperaments, infectious percussion led excursions, psychedelic ramblings, and plenty more jazz - without ever losing a sense of coherency or focus. This is serious music pushing toward ecstatic heights, executed by masters of the craft.
Sometimes knowing less can can give us more, and from the mysterious of Fusione’s self-titled LP spring the greatest musical joys. Issued by Black Sweat on glorious vinyl, it’s one that can’t be missed. Grab a copy and sink in.