There is no doubt at all that 2023 has seen, yet again, the release of some outstanding records, records where there have been some remarkable statements of artistry at 360 degrees, an aspect that, rather sadly and in the contemporary music climate, doesn't often get necessarily (and rather unfairly) recognized with the deserved amount of albums sold, either online or in stores.
One of those outstanding albums, released just few weeks ago, is the brand new record of the Italian Blues/Rock band Bud Spencer Blues Explosion (often identified with the acronym BSBE) called Next Big Niente, an album that sees band members Adriano Viterbini (guitars and vocals) and Cesare Petulicchio (drums) moving into completely different sonic directions, more specifically, towards a highly interesting avant-garde, sonic pastiche that tinkers with Desert Blues, Electronica, 70's Disco, Rock, Folk and Trip-Hop, resulting in a rather entertaining melting pot where music becomes fragmented, melodic and distorted at the same times, perhaps with the purpose to consciously detach themselves from the common perception of what music may mean for many, in these days and age.
Bud Spencer Blues Explosion, previously winners of a Bluebird Reviews Award as Best Live Act back in 2018, have always loved the idea of sounding different to any other band around. Born initially as a Blues/Rock project, their sonic trademark has constantly evolved, through the years, very often with excellent results. Whilst not working together as BSBE, from time to time, both Viterbini and Petulicchio have worked through the years on side projects or toured with artists belonging to many different genres, something that has often brought to their records a new and exciting dynamic, enriching their contemporary Blues/Rock formula with new and thrilling layers of sound.
Next Big Niente may come across, at first listen, as an album that lacks in cohesion, due to the enormous amount of sampled instrumentation used but, in reality, it is, in our website's opinion, the most ingenious and soulful album that the Italian band has ever published to date, in their highly accomplished career.
Viterbini's vocals are barely perceptable, on most of the tracks and often, each tune, no matter whether is an instrumental or not, runs on different sonic tangents within each of the songs included in the album, maybe with the intent, from the band's perspective, to send a subliminal message about what gets perceived nowadays as music, intended as an art form, with continous and calculated changes of tempo and genres that may be seen, by some, as something that Artificial Intelligence would do with the music, sadly, by piecing together sounds in a very random way, without following music patterns or defined structures.
Bud Spencer Blues Explosion's Next Big Niente is a contemporary Concept Album of phenomenal brilliancy; from tunes like Vandali (Vandals), which marries Moroder's 70 dance sound with Folk, Electronica and Blues, going straight to the track called Medioriente, where layers of Desert Music are built on an electronic soundscape, with the tune assuming almost a contemporary trip-hop vibe to it, BSBE's new record is a marvelous example of modern sonic escapism, a highly entertaining mosaic of sounds where Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder meet Moby or, other times, The Chemical Brothers meet Tinariwen, while Viterbini and Petulicchio ask straight questions to their audience via their songs, like "Where Are We All Now, With Music?" or "Is This Music? Can You Hear Us? We Are Here, But Maybe We Are Not..." through a serie of sensorial sonic vignettes that dialog intensely with people, without never really and clearly speaking.
Hats off to BSBE. Their brand new album is both a clever warning to the future generation about not to lose totally contact with the real meaning of the word Music and, by the same token, for Viterbini and Petulicchio, a cathartic opportunity to better identify how their music has grown and where it's taking them to. Intentionally subversive and oniric, deliciously thoughts provoking and musically exciting, Next Big Niente is really a truly exceptional record. One to treasure and to enjoy more and more with each passing listen.
Next Big Niente is out now and it is available to be purchased via La Tempesta Dischi