Friday, 2 October 2020

Nu Guinea ‎– Nuova Napoli (2018)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: NG Records

1.   Nuova Napoli
2.   Je Vulesse
3.   Ddoje Facce
4.   Disco Sole
5.   Stann Fore
6.   'A Voce 'E Napule
7.   Parev' Ajere

Bass Guitar – Roberto Badoglio 
Drum Programming – Massimo Di Lena
Drums – Andrea De Fazio
Guitar – Marcello Giannini
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Lucio Aquilina
Lead Vocals – Fabiana Martone
Percussion – Adam Pawe
Saxophone – Pietro Santangelo
Written-By, Producer, Arranged By – Nu Guinea

In the wake of the success of their 2016 album, The Tony Allen Experiments, Naples-native duo Nu Guinea have released a new LP that pays homage to their home city’s vibrant jazz, funk and disco scene during the 70s and 80s. The record has been released via their own imprint NG Records and all of its tracks have been written, arranged and produced by Nu Guinea, except for Parev’ Ajere, which is a cover version of Mr. Business by French band Edition Spéciale. In the creation of this album the duo also enlisted various reputable members of the local music scene, with vocal contributions from Fabiana Martone and smooth jazz solos from Pietro Santangelo.

Throughout previous releases Nu Guinea have tried to explore sounds from all over the globe, trying their hand in channelling rhythms from Africa and beyond, but in this LP they really focus on vivifying the iconic italo-disco sounds that their country has been famous for towards the end of the 20th century. Nuova Napoli has an undeniably liberated feel to it, exhibiting a beautiful mixture of different soundscapes from funk to disco and jazz. The album doesn’t only embody this jazz sentiment in sound but also in the soulful, improvised and free nature of the saxophone and guitar solos littered throughout.

The album is a symphony in funk, composed with an orchestra of synthesisers and analogue equipment, including a Linn 9000 drum machine, Roland Jupiter 6 and a Korg 3 electronic keyboard to name but a few, in order to truly recreate the sound of Neapolitan boogie bliss.

It’s hard to pick a track that distinguishes itself as the best on this record, with each having its own innate groovy appeal. For me, the two stand-out tracks here are Je vulesse and Ddoje facce. Je vulesse is the first time that we are introduced to Martone’s vocals (taken from Eduardo de Filippo’s poem Je vulesse truvà pace) which sing over an up-tempo funk beat, elongated strings and intermittent keys, coming together to form a groovy and euphoric, 80s style disco number. Ddoje facce is simple and irresistibly catchy. Gentle percussion and synth keys in a loop act as the skeleton for the track and as a great backdrop for the vocal, sax and string solos that ensue.

There is no doubt that Nuova Napoli is something of a tour de force for Nu Guinea, a beautiful composition of music and a fitting homage to the sounds that typify Italy’s dance music history.