Review and Interview: Toto Chiavetta – Impermanence (Yoruba Records)

Review and Interview: Toto Chiavetta – Impermanence (Yoruba Records)
Toto Chiavetta first came to my attention with his formidable “Become One” EP on Yoruba three years ago, now he delivers (again on Yoruba) his first full-length “Impermanence”. And, let’s get the point first, “Impermanence” is a joyful and captivating 72-minutes ride through quite some different grooves and moods of contemporary electronic dance music, at any time based on a general idea of positivity and reflection. From track one to thirteen Chiavetta let loose his open mind, offering an cornucopia of variety from warm and smooth deepness (“Impermanence”) and energetic house (“Take Care”) to punchy acid (“Father Acid Sky”) and more freaky stuff (“B.O.”). The whole album nevertheless sounds quite coherent and has a certain flow, because all of the tracks, diverse as they are, are held together by Chiavettas spirit and his production skills. What turns “Impermanence” into something especially extraordinaire are the various singers (see the interview below for details) who contribute hypnotic spoken-word performances (as Mateo Senolia performs on “Anylonger”, adding an epic transcendence to an already transcendent House track), spiritually guided declamations (as Tshaka Campbell adds to “Impermanences” lush vibes) and slick raps (as Kev Kruz features on “Boy Of The Jungle”). Especially worth the mention are the vibrant chants Senegalese Moby Ngom does on “Nagnu Jubo”, their incantatory force firing up the percussion-driven track with impressive results). Pretty good indeed, but Toto Chiavetta can do without vocals as the twisted funkiness of “Minds” proves, stripped-down spiralling rhythms interlock with dry and quite rudimentary harmonics. And “Track One” (which is actually the tracks name) comes up with feverishly rising keyboard lines the dance floors will love. In any case “Impermanence” is a collection of tracks highly suitable for the floor and DJs will easily find a tune to play, be it for starting gently into the night or for peak time. The album has an organic and soulful feel to it, full of brightness and light, carefully avoiding cliché sounds and stereotypical figures of House Music. Chiavetta keeps it fresh. We all know that Osunlade and the Yoruba guys know what they’re doing so it’s no surprise they chose this album for a release. It perfectly makes sense on a label that’s so much into House, always searching for music you can dance to and is also art, full of life and without stagnation. Written by João Geck Interview with Toto Chiavetta about the idea behind his album, the vocalists he was working with, Sicily and more. Questions by João Geck. toto_chiavetta_300 Q: Your new album "Impermanence" is full of energy and shows quite a wide range of styles from jazzy stuff over tribal house to acid but still sounds very coherent. What's your idea behind the album and what are your inspirations and influences? A: During the past few years I’ve been feeling the natural desire to release a full package of music that is deeply meaningful to me, considering that music is the only tool which gives a meaning to my existence (it is my rock) and also a way to deal with my anger and solitude (unfortunately). Since 2008 I have been inspired by the Buddhist philosophy (I underline philosophy and not religion), which had helped and still helps me to make it through the adventures I face, on a daily basis, in this planet. So I would say, Buddhist philosophy is the underlying idea and main source of inspiration. The title of the album indeed refers to one of the main concept in Buddhism. Musically speaking, I am influenced by any type of music which feels true to my soul, which has an overall warm sound, and, absolutely most important, music which contains ideas that broaden my consciousness, as well as solution (even small details) of which, technically speaking, I never thought of. Q: "Impermanence" features several very interesting vocalists. Please tell us a little bit about them and why you worked with them. A: The main reason is the sound of their voices and the fact that all of them are people I respect as human beings. In order of appearance, Moby Ngom is a vocalist and percussionist from Senegal, who I met by pure matter of chance in my small town called Giarre. Immediately after we had the chance to meet we spoke about music and I explained the project that, at that time, was floating in my mind. I quickly felt in love with his attitude and approach to life. Shortly after, we were in the studio to record few songs. I chose “Nagnu Jubo” because of its meaning and the appeal of the track itself. Honestly, it just happened and felt suitable. Mateo Senolia is a talented producer and DJ from the States. I got to know him because of a previous release he had on Yoruba. I immediately asked him to interpret the words I had written few years before (“Anylonger"). I simply thought that his tone and sound of the voice were perfect for what I had in mind, and he surely gave my words the vibrations that I expected. Tshaka Campbell is, in my opinion, an amazing poet, born in the UK and raised in the States. I truly like the way he combines words (meaning and metric) and how they sound, feel and vibrate. I asked him to record a poem about the Buddhist concept of impermanence. I also suggested to record his voice directly from his mobile’s microphone to add an extra feeling of reality. I loved the result and his recording became the track “Impermanence”. Kev Kruz, from NY, has a long history as a hip-hop MC (he is brilliant). We have already a track together (“Get Connected To The Underground”). I guess he loves adding vocals to my tracks because it gives him the opportunity to use some of those hip-hop MC skills with the challenge being not to sound like he is rapping. I consider him a hip-hop/house poet. I asked him to interpret words that I had written about this boy who was willing to encounter his enemy in the jungle. He thought that I had been too aggressive (you see, sometime I forget the principles of the Buddhist philosophy :)), so he said "let me try something easier, dude". The result is “Boy Of The Jungle". Q: It's not your first release on Yoruba and your music obviously fits the label very good. How did you get in touch with Osunlade? And, as you're from Sicily, maybe you can tell something about the house scene in Sicily and the south of Italy? A: I met papa Osunlade something like 7 years ago while he was DJing in Catania, a city close to my town Giarre. As I was a big fan of his since the beginning, I introduced myself and that was it. The same night, I met him after his gig in a hot dog place - right out of the club (the place where you basically go to absorb the alcohol) - and chat a bit more without any music in the background (easier). I asked for his e-mail to send the tracks I was producing, and, to my immense surprise, he was replying (one of the tracks - “Where Is Love Gone” - eventually got released in his compilation for Defected). Two years later I wrote him an e-mail where I explained that I had three tracks which I would have liked him to evaluate for Yoruba ("Become One", "Mother Acid Land" and "Percussion Suite"). The morning after I signed the license agreement. Since then we got closer and closer and now we are family, and because of this, I feel deeply privileged. I got to learn so much from him and his craziness. House scene where I live is not big at all. There are very few people around to talk and discuss about music. Nevertheless, there are few venues where house music is being played and a big techno venue. This year, for instance, I will be holding my first residency in a club called MA (in my opinion one the best venue in south Italy), alongside the Sicilian pioneer DJ Francesco Samperi and very talented and young DJ Ottavia Zingali. I am sure, our voices will be heard in the city (hopefully :)). Q: "Impermanence" is your first full-length. You’re around in the House Music biz for quite a while but never released that much. How come? Did you save everything for the album? And of course: what are your plans for the future? A: I had never released a ton of music because not every song I produce is something the world needs to hear. Full stop. And yes, I saved most of my music for the album, which I actively produced during the past three years. Further, I guess that there is a very delicate balance between giving and withholding your music nowadays. Honestly, I do not want my name to be saturated or just to release tracks for the simple fact that I have been producing them and they work on the floor; fuck this attitude. Also, I need to have some unreleased music to make my DJ set more interesting :)! I would say that I have something like 60 tracks ready and unreleased. I have not a specific plan for the future, beside eating, sleeping and enjoying life as much as I can (at least I like to think so!). Musically, I have a new EP to be released later this year and few other singles for 2017. I guess my music now on will be quite different from the one which is contained in the album. New sounds and new atmosphere for Toto. Music too is impermanent! I will just keep producing and djing, which is something that I would do, doesn't matter what. It is just me. Thank you!   You can BUY  Toto Chiavetta - Impermanence, released on Yoruba Records HERE from whatpeopleplay.com.

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