Alesini, Nicola (Synthesizer, Percussion, Keyboards, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone)
Pier Luigi Andreoni (Percussion, Piano, Cymbals, Keyboards)
David Torn (Guitar)
Fabio Capanni (Guitar)
Harold Budd (Piano)
Richard Barbieri (Keyboards)
Roger Eno (Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals)
Steve Jansen (Percussion)
In 1995 the Italian composer duo Nicola Alesini and Pier Luigi Andreoni released a CD entitled Marco Polo, which featured contributions by a number of fine musicians, including David Sylvian, Roger Eno, David Torn and Harold Budd. Three years later they are back with the second installment in their Marco Polo project, this time with Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen taking the place of David Sylvian, but otherwise reassembling the entire team behind the first volume. In addition to the hour long musical journey to the Far East, this second volume includes a lavish multimedia presentation with interactive video clips, computer animations, slide shows, alternate versions of songs from both Marco Polo releases, and much more. Marco Polo II has - like its precursor - been made available by Materiali Sonori, and was produced by Giampiero Bigazzi.
It is clear that both Alesini and Andreoni admire Marco Polo greatly, not only for his historical discoveries, but, maybe even more importantly, for his adventurousness as such. In their compositions, they strive to evoke not only the voyages of Marco Polo, but also the spirit of restlessness and curiosity that guided him in his travels. And, it is an effort that is successful, as witnessed by the virtuoso saxophone performances that wander through the richly detailed musical landscapes of most of the tracks on the CD. In a sense Alesini's saxophone themes become the Marco Polo of the album, travelling along; at times slowly with a tinge of melancholy, and homesickness perhaps; at other times, full of enthusiasm and longing; but, always with a sense of discovery and the unexpected.
The grand vistas of sound that Andreoni - and the many other guest musicians on the CD - erect, beautifully paint the various locales through which Marco Polo, and now Alesini, traveled. Here are the foreign cities with their strange noises and languages; here are endless mountainscapes clad in misty clouds; here are fiel....... more