A meta-analysis of comments and reviews posted on this solo release from Gabriel Lucas Riccio suggests that the music is more or less saturated with influences and styles. For the aficionado of avant garde or “progressive” music this is high praise indeed, but for the casual listener the layers and depth of sound here may be problematic. There are certainly elements of rock, metal, jazz and classical music here which will unquestionably tick all the boxes for most readers of ThisIsNotAScene. The sound is by no means a chaotic conglomeration of these influences however, and Riccio, in association with Travis Orbin and Thomas Murphy of Periphery, David Stivelman, Soren Larson and Sophia Uddin, has crafted a signature sound which, despite being reminiscent of the Rock In Opposition (RIO) movement, is identifiably his own.
“Arrival in a Distant Land” which opens the album, develops steadily on a background of dissonant piano before the haunting vocals add a further dimension. The juxtaposition of dissonance and harmony is unsettling initially, but as the listener become accustomed to the construction of sound, the character and elegance trickle through. The percussion is, not surprisingly, very much to the forefront on many of these pieces, and many of the rhythms are densely populated. There are some truly outstanding moments of pomp and grandeur, such as the opening of ‘Curing Somatization’ which leave the listener metaphorically breathless with intrigue.
Another extensive track which pushes the ten minute mark is ‘Defense Highway’, which again, is propelled along on dissonance and layers of instrumentation that are bewildering, yet on a level which many, hopefully, will understand, deeply fulfilling. ‘Ranting Prophet’ appears to be the epitome of how uncomfortable with the arrangements the listener could possibly expect to be. Discordant vocals and harsh instrumentation may test the patience of some, but present a challenge to those willing to engage. A tender, yet menacing eleven minute ‘Languishing in Lower Chakras’ is evocative of a state of delirium in which fragments of remembered sounds and ambient noise swim in the middle distance through a haze of murmuring white noise.
“Interior City” is a piece of work which requires repeated immersion and an understanding of the context in which it was written. The story behind the concept it seems is the feelings of fear and mistrust an individual would feel if they were programmed psychologically in a world in which no individual is deemed worthy of respect. The tale describes the journey of one individual as they attempt to regain their self respect and connect with the world around them. A lofty concept maybe, but as we move through the twenty first century, not as “science fiction” as one would first imagine. The arrangements reflect these feelings and ideas as well as anyone could possibly expect. “Interior City”, sadly, may not be for popular consumption, but as a catalyst for debate and critique, it is an outstanding accomplishment.