Italian bass virtuoso and composer, Alberto Rigoni, is set to release his sixth solo album, Duality, on September 20. Duality is an intriguing album that explores the expressive potential of electric bass through seven instrumental compositions. Rigoni’s instrument of choice for creative navigation is a hybrid 7-string fretted/fretless bass that allows him to tap into a wide array of techniques and timbres. Much of the album features layered bass lines in various registers played over drums. Additional solos and textures are provided by a series of notable guest musicians: Matthias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) and Frank Caruso (String 24, Thunder Rising) on guitar, Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze), and Mistheria (Vivaldi Metal Project) on keyboards.
The album opener, “Song for my Soul”, is an 80s-tinged jazz fusion trio piece, with Mistheria contributing keyboards throughout. This is perhaps my favorite track on the album, as it showcases some of the more delicate musical passages along with an adventurous bass solo that captures a sense of improvisational spontaneity. The album ventures into heavier territory on “Duality” with an explosive shred guitar solo from Frank Caruso. “Message in Morse Code,” albeit short, is noteworthy as the pinnacle of bass layering on the album. A pulsing bass line is sequentially layered with harmonics, a high pitched ostinato, and a flowing melody… all played on bass and underpinned by drums. Rigoni adds and removes sonic layers like a sculptor molding a figure out of clay. “Mad 333” makes you feel like you’re sitting in on a jam session along with freak-guitarist Matthias IA Eklundh and prog-metal keyboardist Jonah Weingarten. If I had to pick one track on the album to see performed live, this would be it. Finally, the album closes with the ambient, minimalist composition “Afterneath.” Although performed solely on bass, the overall effect reminds me of a more delicate version of the intro passage to Dream Theater’s prog epic, “Trial of Tears.”
Overall, Duality is an eclectic offering with elements of jazz fusion, hard rock, math rock, prog, and ambient. The album is full of thoughtful instrumental compositions that take the listener on a musical journey. Rigoni demonstrates his prowess as both a performer and a composer, which has earned him the opportunity to perform alongside world-class musicians. In addition to the guest musicians on Duality, he has also worked with the likes of Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, OSI, ex-Dream Theater), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson), and Stu Hamm (Satriani), just to name a few. Counting his solo work as well as his other bands–TwinSpirits, BADASS, Lady and the BASS–and various side projects, Rigoni has released over a dozen albums in the past decade, in addition to numerous guest appearances. Duality is a stellar addition to Rigoni’s already substantial discography.
Alberto Rigoni: Hybrid 7-string fretted/fretless and 5-string fretted basses
Doug Harris: Drums
With Guest Musicians:
Mistheria: Keyboards on “Song for my Soul”
Matthias IA Eklund: Guitar solo on “Mad 333”
Frank Caruso: Guitar solo on “Duality”
Jonah Weingarten: Keyboard solo on “Mad 333”
Ryo Okumoto: Keyboards on “Kyoto’s Gardens”