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Album Review

Almamegretta actually sounds like a self-contained Italian equivalent of Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound gang on their debut album. The title track and "Figli di Annibale" ("Children of Hannibal") in particular recall reggae-rooted dub sound science wizardry à la Sherwood, but Animamigrante is an album full of Almamegretta's own atmospheric tricks and urban mix techniques, groove music that pays careful attention to melody. The opening "'O BBuono E 'O Malamente" evokes Peter Gabriel a bit, but the acoustic "Suddd," with its dub bassline, Arabic-tinged melodies, and vocals in Italian (actually Neapolitan) dialect, shows the quartet's commitment to expanding the dub sound spectrum by bringing their own Mediterranean elements into the mix. "Sangha e Anema" starts off with upbeat ragga toasting before shifting to a mournful, moody Arabic keyboard and vocal melody over the continuing beat for the bridge — a formula Almamegretta often returns to here and on later albums. "Fattallà" is pure ragga, but very haunting, atmospheric, "heady" music as much as body rock, which is a pretty good description of Almamegretta's style and the intelligence the group displays in balancing both sides of the dub equation. A very strong debut by a group that dub underground fans should make the extra effort to seek out.


Formed: 1991

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s

Sonic explorers who recall a Mediterranean version of Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound gang, Almamegretta occupies a strange zone of its own. In its native Italy, the quartet is a major underground-alternative success celebrated for singing in Italian (actually Neapolitan) dialect and introducing dub/mix culture there. All but unknown elsewhere, its command of creative sound science has led to collaborations with such dub underground stalwarts as Sherwood, Bill Laswell, Massive Attack, and Asian Dub...
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Animamigrante, Almamegretta
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