Artist: Corde Oblique
Album: The Moon is a Dry Bone
Label: The Stones of Naples
If the “folkgaze” genre is a new one for you, you’re not alone. Having never heard of such a genre, evocative as its name may be, we were as such entirely unfamiliar with Corde Oblique. However, quarantine times are excellent times to try out new music, and as I said, “folkgaze” has a lot to live up to as a genre and it seemed like the time to give it a chance! The band’s latest album, The Moon is a Dry Bone, was released on April 3rd, 2020.
Listen along on Spotify:
Corde Oblique is a solo group by Riccardo Prencipe, an art historian and composer from Italy. The album begins with the ambient, slightly melancholy, and proggy “Almost Blue,” which is a 3-minute instrumental track with an intriguing soundscape. “La Strada” opens on strong violin lines and features Andrea Chimenti, who adds a layer of depth to the track.
Title track “The Moon is a Dry Bone” is very different from the first two tracks, sounding almost like a horror song with wild, screeching, and sliding violins and creepy almost-spoken vocals. “Le grandi anime” is far slower, focusing on acoustic guitar and female vocals.
“Le torri di maddaloni” starts off almost like a lullaby before upping the energy and taking a more tribal turn with vocals by Irfan adding a beautiful eastern feel. “Il figlio dei Vergini” features Ashram and is yet another slower folky song with acoustic guitar and accordion. Maddalena Crippa is the guest on “La casa del point,” which is a strange song that feels a bit like a story with strange layered vocals that feel more spoken than sung once again.
“Temporary Peace” has light string staccato accompanying female vocals in English and a more interesting and urgent musical progression and feels a bit more generally accessible as a song. It ends on a slow piano piece that has some faint vocals in the distance that sound like they may have come from old radios with static.
Another slow acoustic track follows in “Il terzo suono” with Miro Sassolini, which has some strange and interesting vocal… harmonies? Listen and you’ll hear what I mean. A little over halfway through the track, it hops up in energy with speedy strings and a peppy tempo. “Herculaneum” has a slow pace and a lot of accordion accompanying the vocals. The album then ends with “Almost Blue, Pt. 2,” which is an intriguing instrumental track led by a slow and mysterious guitar melody, making for a gentle yet interesting end to the album.
“The Moon is a Dry Bone” is a creative and ambient album with a lot of beauty and mystery to it. While a lot of the songs have incredible vocals, the language may create a barrier with some people as it prevents English speakers from understanding the songs on a deeper level. While this album lacks a certain element of excitement to appeal to me on a deeper level, it’s nevertheless a lovely, gentle album that is worth checking out if you like ambient folk music with an Italian flare.
Rating: 7/10, 3.5 stars
1. Almost Blue
2. La strada ft. Andrea Chimenti
3. The Moon is a Dry Bone
4. Le grandi anime
5. Le torri di maddaloni ft. Irfan
6. Il figlio dei Vergini ft. Ashram
7. La casa del Ponte ft. Maddalena Crippa
8. Temporary Peace
9. Il terzo suono ft. Diaframma
11. Almost Blue pt. 2