Wednesday, April 19, 2023

EP Review: Noorag "fossils" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Noorag
Country: Italy
Genre: Groove metal
EP: fossils
Format: Digipack CD, digital
Label: Independent
Release date: March 11, 2023
Available digitally at BandcampYoutube and Spotify
Noorag is a single-member project from Italy, described as "baritone riffs from a futuristic post-atomic civilization", coming from "a wandering studio and a bunch of random unrecommendable friends". Things become more interesting when you discover that its founding member Federico Paretta writes and arranges all its material in the style of a private jam session rather than in a professional recording studio. Throughout this EP, all seven tracks sound as though they were composed freestyle in one take and encompass all their influences with an effortless technique.
At their outset, blues-influenced rock and metal and early Seattle grunge made sudden and irrevocable changes to popular music, striking a nerve with the general public that had not yet been touched. In an apparent effort to draw on both, Paretta and Noorag hold a match to a razor blade with these instrumental pieces, proceeding to drag it over those frayed nerves, tearing them open again to leave an indelible mark.
Initially, Paretta's compositions may appear simplistic as they do not exceed three minutes in length, but as a result of the tight spaces created, his musicianship comes across as rawer and heavier than you would expect it to, which in turn expressly emphasizes its conglomeration of grooves, stoner rock, jazz, early grunge, and rhythm and blues. The more you listen to Paretta's bare-bones presentation, the more you realize how much attention he paid to detail and begin to wonder how it would sound if he had taken more time to expand on his riffing and musicianship.
As if to emphasize how much musicianship is packed into short periods of time, there’s an intricate interplay between the guitar, the bass, and the drums, also unusual for the tracks' brief duration. The presentation reminded me in some ways of Rush in the early seventies, although the communication between the instruments is stripped down and not as grandiose. Paretta could easily have added a larger-than-life approach, but he and drummer Daniele Marcia allow baser creativity to speak for itself within the apparent simplicity of their recordings.
Low-tuned strings and occasional dissonant chords add even more depth to the composition, neither of which would be traditionally associated with grunge, r&b or funk. There are also some guitar and bass lines that seem incompatible, but they fit together well when they are placed in the appropriate places. Paretta is essentially starting from scratch and going back years to discover new paths forward with his work.
This EP represents the meeting of different personalities on a rain-drenched afternoon and their discovery of how much they have in common. It is evident that Paretta has the potential to grow in more than one way, whether by incorporating more progress and interaction into limited spaces or by lengthening his compositions in order to provide more space to elaborate on his ideas. This also applies to whether or not he decides to include lyrics and vocals in future recordings. It wouldn't be a requirement, but it would contribute to the success of his project. –Dave Wolff

Federico Paretta: Guitars, bass
Daniele Marcia: Session drummer

Track list:
1. hhon
2. amanita shot
3. brachiopod
4. cochlea stone
5. ritual electric
6. acid apricot
7. digital cave (bonus demo tape)

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