From the moment it begins, there’s something distinctly different about Heat the Silent. Its black-and-white album art grabs the attention, and the eclectic jazz movements contained within will only confound some all the more. It’s a wild card of an album and those fortunate enough to stumble across it are in for the musical ride of the year — jazz in 20222 feels so foreign and absent, and thankfully Louis Siciliano and Mauro Salvatore have come to take notice; while Heat the Silent won’t be everyone’s cup of tea with songs clocking in at an average of over seven minutes in length, those willing enough to link up with it will undoubtedly find themselves with a new favorite in their midst.
Performing from within the identity of MUMEx Duo (Music Multiverse Exploration), Siciliano and Salvatore have gone above and beyond — with Heat the Silent coming in at seven tracks in total, there’s rarely been a jazz album as varied and dynamic as this. Contemporary jazz, in general, could only aspire to reach the same heights as Siciliano and Salvatore, and most of it finds itself stopping anywhere short of background noise at your local Starbucks. Abum opener “Variations on Estate” is an enigmatic place to start, as the piano keys trickle in rhythmic variations against percussion seemingly set directly against it. It’s a winding, hypnotic start to an album some might immediately find antagonistic, but the instant showcase of what the band is capable of in jazz is a must, and “Variations on Estate” brings everything to the table.
“When All the People Are Sleeping” is a more traditionally jazzy entry with its identifiable melody instantly inviting listeners into its sullen confines; the spacey percussion intermeshed with the warm piano notes and slow yet persistent tempo highlight some of the best spaces that the album explores. “Thelonius,” on the other hand, throws all notions of a slow and steady tempo out of the window from ten stories up — the aptly-titled tribute track is a chaotic intermingling of wild drums and flailing piano keys, and it’s a stellar piece of work. It’s brash, loud, and unforgiving, which is everything a track named “Thelonius” should be. Title track “Heat the Silent” is a much more restrained track by comparison, and its follow-up certainty brings listeners back down without spinning their heads around too much. “Joe’s Island,” dedicated to the late, great Mediterranean jazz’s own Joe Amoruso, is a scorcher with its outstanding vocals and disciplined piano. “Beyond the Eighth Door” is another fast-paced, drums-first piece that brilliantly sees percussion and piano duking it out; the dynamic between the instruments has arguably never felt more alive on the album than it is here.
Siciliano and Salvatore do the wise decision of leaving Heat the Silent off on the poetic and heart-wrenching “Variazioni Senza Fine.” Its soft touches exploding into immense crescendoes and impressive bursts of energy feel as though they’ve been on their way for the last fifty minutes, and the payoff is monumental, to say the least. There’s no jazz-shaped stone left unturned within Heat the Silent, something that feels very intentional from the masters Siciliano and Salvatore. The album is a total achievement and success not only for jazz but for modern music.
Photo Credit: Mario Coppola