The Upshot: Touching in various places on the musical ethics of Porcupine Tree, David Sylvian and David Bowie’s Outside without really sounding like any of them, the Italian prog/jazz/metal artist’s debut as a bandleader occupies its own dimension.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Insamuch as he’s known on Stateside shores at all, singer and songwriter Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari is probably best recognized as frontperson for British/Italian prog/jazz/metal behemoth Obake, whose Draugr deservedly made waves last year. The soundtrack to an online interactive graphic novel, the Italian native’s debut as a leader assembles a dream team of Norwegian rock and jazz mavericks under the watchful eye of co-producer David Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos).
Hypersomniac cooks with many of the same flavors as Obake, constructing a dense collage of heavy prog, jazz improv and electronic atmospheres. “Future jazz” avatars Nils Petter Molvaer (trumpet) and Eivind Aarset (guitar, electronics) team with free jazzer Rebecca Sneddon (sax), Motorpsycho engine Kenneth Kapstad (drums), Supersilent/Motorpsycho colorist Ståle Storløkken (keys) and New York experimental music guru Bill Laswell (bass) to surround Fornasari with a busy network of sonics that rarely highlights a single instrument in favor of the general vibe. Fornasari fits in as required, whether it’s a burly growl on the rocking “Parallel Powers,” a sky-reaching wail on the boiling “Therapy” or a dreamy croon for the ethereal “A Glimpse of Emma.” Fornasari lays back on the penultimate “First Step,” letting the musicians have the spotlight for a freewheeling sonic storm, before bringing it all home with “Let the Sun Fall Apart,” an anthemic ballad. Touching in various places on the musical ethics of Porcupine Tree, David Sylvian and David Bowie’s Outside without really sounding like any of them, Hypersomniac occupies its own dimension, similar but not identical to our own.
DOWNLOAD: “Parallel Powers,” “A Glimpse of Emma,” “First Step”