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Sicilian Giovanni Sollima probably isn't the best cello improviser/composer (save that title for Amsterdam's Ernst Reijseger or the late Tom Cora), but his playing is infectious and, as evidenced by this disc, his craft for fusing disparate sonic elements is exceptional. On this album, Sollima attempts to "describe stories about flying and traveling through the air" with his trademark minimalist cello playing. The bulk of this work is divided amongst nine aquilarcos--Sollima's invented compound that comprises the Italian words for kite (aquilone) and bow (arco). These chamber-music pieces are a diverse lot, to say the least, with electric guitar, electric bass, keyboards, and flute popping up. Upon hearing the soft repetitions of "Aquilarco No. 2," the listener will be left wondering, is this New Age, New Music, or jazz fusion? But these tunes defy categorization. "Aquilarco No. 3" sounds like it could be the soundtrack for a chase scene; No. 9, subtitled "Rotating Dance," unwraps itself to feature Sollima's furious sawing accentuating an electric guitar. The last three compositions on the disc feature the voice of Robert Wilson on top of Sollima's mesmerizing playing. What ties these numbers together? Sollima's soaring compositions, of course, which are inspiring, digestible, and entrancing. --Jason Verlinde
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