Elektro Guzzi: Parquet (Macro)
Even if you only were able to get through “Affumicato,” the epic opening track on Parquet, it would be worth owning. My favorite trio of non-electronic techno musicians has honed its craft on its second album, with the results being even tighter, more precise jams that sound just as good on headphones as they would sound in a big room. The best tracks on this extremely long-player are the ones that have a broad arc, like the afore-mentioned opener or “Panier,” another one that hits a really sweet stride about halfway through. While the trio is quite good at obscuring their arrangements, making it sound extremely programmed and/or synthy, my favorites are the tracks where they allow their source instruments to come through a bit clearer. That balance of traditional guitar sound against the myriad of effects that help take it to another place is something to be treasured here, as are the moments where you can scrutinize the drumming and discern that it is, in fact, “real drums” that have been treated and manipulated on the fly. If you think Elektro Guzzi might just be a novelty act, don’t fret: these tracks are quite stunning at times without any knowledge of their format or history. They are inspiring without any gimmicks or marketing hooks — just plug in and let them take you away.