Vito Ricci – I Was Crossing a Bridge (Music from Memory, May 2015)

Now, we’ve certainly had our fill of those 1970s and 1980s downtown New York oh weren’t we all so much fun and so pioneering mythologies, but it is, I have to admit, an archive that keeps on giving. If like me you’ve tired a little of the whole no wave punk-jazz messiness that scene so often churns up, then the tracks assembled here by Abel Nagengast, Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenga from experimentalist Vito Ricci will serve as a happy reminder of all the other things the scene was able to engender. Ricci’s releases are mostly on tape and composed largely for performances and dance productions from equally inspired and experimental New Yorkers – and as such much of the music chronicled here carries a kind of spectacular, atmospheric edge which somehow makes it travel well though time.

As Matt Anniss put it here on Juno Plus, what shines through on I Was Crossing a Bridge is Ricci’s enormous creativity. The tracks range from long, heart-wrenching ambient symphonies to twinkling, broken guitar pieces, passing by proto dub-funk, melancholy minimal synth and clean metropolitan stuff that sounds like it’s written for a science documentary. I was Crossing a Bridge is a sensual, extremely varied sonic and emotional journey, but it’s also interesting as an archival object in itself. Ricci’s pieces assembled here tell us not of a one-off genius but of an inspired, expert, a very fluid player in a scene, allowing us to once again take that scene’s temperature, measure it against our own music, our own sensibility, our own time.

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