Review: Andrea Caduro ‘It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn’

‘I want a meditative and reflective dimension in my music, exploring space and suggestions‘. That’s how Rome, Italy, experimental composer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and classical trained musician Andrea Cauduro introduced himself when in 2016 he released his first self-produced album Tales. From then on, Cauduro, who in 2018 concluded a training course at Conservatory, which involved him writing a thesis on the works of John Zorn, continued his relentless journey to explore new avenues. This led him to find new musical elements through his sound creativity to enlighten his mind which brought out the spirit of composing music for theatre and experimental ballet.

Andrea Caduro 'It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn'

Entering the maze of sound experimentalism is like exploring the dark side of the artist’s mind who produces his works in a very intriguing and meticulous way, just like a workaholic beaver constructing a dam as protection. The part that wants to remain in the dark is used to penetrate and give rise to equal sensations, up to the peak of introspective experimentalism.

Sometimes it is not easy to review the latest work by an artist fairly new to me, especially one who has ten releases under their belt. Cauduro‘s albums highlight every last element of musical genres by exploring both the pastoral moments of acid folk and the dark industrial/ambient scene adapted to the suitable musical imagery. Each piece he composes from the intimacy of his home studio is released with sentimental melancholy and heartfelt situations, with themes that spring to mind the calm acoustic folk of J. Renbourn and the acoustic experimentalism of Basho, to then catapult himself into the guitar minimalism of his master, John Zorn, and Rhys Chatham’s orchestral guitar noise.

His music opens the door to enter the colourful gardens of experimentalism and ambient drones, and it is enough to identify yourself in his music to understand the planetary soul of this multifaceted and brilliant composer. Cauduro very rarely uses his voice, and when he does, he expresses it through a warm and overwhelming heavenly, almost religious whisper, like on the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing with Daniele Di Paolo. As with his previous work, his latest album, It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn, and his first for Turin’s most acclaimed and prolific independent record label Delete Recordings, he brings in his trusted musician friends to give a more intimate touch on some of his compositions. It’s an album that’s dark, creepy, and wrapped in an eerie calm that leaves you breathless.

Here he presents eight songs, but more than that, it’s reminiscent of eight pictures brought to an art gallery to be exhibited and commented on by the critics. The opening track The Dance Of Restless Souls is, as the title suggests, restless and tribal which is followed by Puer, a composition that finds peace in the warm and atmospheric moment of Cauduro’s acoustic guitar.

It’s an album that’s dark, creepy, and wrapped in an eerie calm that leaves you breathless…

The industrial appetite for experimentalism with almost orchestral references are heard in compositions such as the final track Suspended Ghost, Memories, which sees the collaborations of Fabio Romano Marianelli on cymbals and Manuel Torello on hand drum, and the title track, It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn, where Cauduro plays all the instruments. But Man And His Symbols is an absolute cinematic masterpiece worthy of featuring in an experimental western movie soundtrack. Cauduro’s fingers touch his guitar strings in a very pensive and elegant way, while the background is captured by the sad lament of the harmonica played by Paolo De Montis.

Every composition throughout the album trembles with stunned energy and exudes an overwhelming entrancing harmony. As you get involved listening to the album, you realise that you find it even more eclectic and exploratory that you might expect. Here you can witness Cauduro’s spiritual and evocative mind blending with his classical and virtuosic playing.

Cauduro is a music alchemist, a composer with a music portfolio to envy. His innate collaboration with a wide variety of musicians has given his sound more breadth from both the experimental and acid folk side. Letting yourself be taken and dragged by the sounds that come out of It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn is like getting lost in your own thoughts and emerging after a brainstorm.

I’d like to end with a quote by the late, great Bologna master composer and pianist Ezio Bosso, ‘Music is like life, it can only be done in one way: together’. This explains the meaning of the perfect and impeccable work on this album that was recorded, mixed and produced by Delete Recordings artist Paul Beauchamp and mastered by master of the art Marco Milanesio.

Label: Delete Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Caccamo