Café y tortillas

Lots of activities lately and not much time to update the blog.

I have completed some touring with EchoTest in Italy and Spain. Crazy to think that we hadn’t played in Italy for two years… it’s increasingly hard to book shows in my country. Trust me, we’d be happy to play wherever we can, but we need to get offers from promoters. It’s usually a DIY affair over here, so I book the gigs personally, and I tried to contact as many booking agents and venues as possible. The answer is “not interested at this time”, or usually no answer at all. It is what it is.

The concerts we managed to play were very good. My personal highlight was a duo show in Cortona, the small town in Tuscany where EchoTest started in 2014. It was good to be back there and to offer a more up-to-date performance. We sounded quite different in 2014! We had no idea we were about to become a real band after those initial gigs. The event was put together by Ask The White (Simone Lanari and Isobel Blank), wonderful musicians and lovely people; the setting was intimate, at the Casa Ohm recording studio owned by Alessio Rosi. It’s a beautiful place where you can record your album, sleep (it is also a B&B) and spend quality time in the Tuscan countryside.

We flew to Spain a few days later (low budget airlines. We were worried about the strict baggage policies, considering the weight of our pedalboards and instruments – all went good in the end). We performed at the Totum Revolutum festival in Barcelona on May 12, and also held a clinic at the Jam Session music school earlier that same day.  We love playing in Spain! We get so much support there. A few students from the music school joined us on Supercell and King Crimson‘s Frame by Frame (I really enjoyed singing Adrian Belew’s part, while Julie took care of the bassline). Later at the festival, we have met with our good friend, bassist Daniel Escortell, and his band Glazz. I appreciated their set a lot. At the end, they invited us on stage to perform a wild rendition of another King Crimson classic, Thela Hun Ginjeet – with three basses! What a blast (I was the one making weird noises. I had never played that tune before).

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Esteem, during our masterclass in Barcelona

I’m home in Italy at the moment, planning the next moves. For now, EchoTest will concentrate on completing the new album, our fourth one, which will be titled Daughter of Ocean. You will be surprised, I think. In the meantime, I have produced a song for Imnotanartist, a project conceived by Diandra Danieli – we have known each other for years and collaborated in the past (most notably, she sings on The Things, from my latest solo album Small Music From Broken Windows). I’m very happy about how this track, Come To Me, turned out. The song features my friends and collaborators Victor Sågfors on guitar, Toni Nordlund on drums and Paolo Raineri on trumpet. I have played guitars, bass, effects, and programmed some loops. Feel free to take a listen and watch the video:

Not so long ago, Nocturne Blue shared a rendition of Sleepless (oh well, we love King Crimson, don’t we?) which features me on “space bass” and vocals, Markus Reuter on the U8 Touch Guitar and Adrian Voorhies on trip-hoppy drums. My parts were recorded when I visited Dutch Rall in Texas in January. Dutch sings wonderfully and envisioned tasty sound design and production. You can check it out on Bandcamp.

More music and touring is in the works (with different projects) – I will share more as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.


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