Debut album ‘Lowlands’ by Italian experimental jazz duo Varv

May 24th, 2024

Category: news

Debut album ‘Lowlands’ by Italian experimental jazz duo Varv

Varv is a duo composed of Andrea Cappi on keys and Francesco Mascolo on drums, and it’s a crossover project in which the jazz background of both musicians is stripped of its more traditional characteristics and used to explore more experimental territories, between electronica and prog rock.

Lowlands is the first album of the duo and presents itself as a  soundtrack to a dystopian movie that investigates our evolution as both individuals and as a society as well as the relationship between this evolution and the earth: how one influences the other in an inseparable and ever-evolving process.

Album opener “Drizzle” develops around rhythmic key chords that build up to a frantic pace, creating a groove with the drums that is then deconstructed in the middle part of the song, to be brought back in towards the end. With its changes in mood and rhythm, this track is a good representation of Varv‘s approach.

“All Fulness” sees guest Matteo Pontegavelli on trumpet guide the listener through abstract and undefined soundscapes. “Permeability” is imbued with soulful vibes and is also the first track Varv ever published, in 2022, while “Childhood” is a delicate ballad that evokes carefree childhood moments.

In “Limestone” a simple chord progression slowly evolves through small variations in timbre where everything seems suspended. Sitting somewhere between chill wave, synth pop and indie, this track was the main single lifted from the album.

“White Kitten” is the most abstract track, here the duo completely let loose. The dialogue between the two musicians weaves a sonic tapestry made of alterations and synth sequences that play a game of contrasts between chaos and order.

“Ready Arteries” begins with keyboard riffs and a drum break pattern on which guest Daniele Nasi eventually joins in on sax. This track pushes the album even further out musically, towards the edges of dance music. While the melody on album closer “Kings of Weno” has echoes of rock, the song is about dreaming of escaping the city to live on a distant tropical island in the Pacific.

‘Lowlands’ out on CD / Digital download on May 24th 2024 via Off Records