Post-rock is fast becoming a tired and bloated genre with most releases these days sounding like a bad copy of the hundreds of acts who have gone before them. Even Explosions In The Sky aren't safe from plagarism accusations anymore, even though they are one of the bands that initially blew the barriers down. It does take something truly special to stand-out in the mire of mediorcity. Recently, the Italians are having a right go at this with a handful of acts such as Port-Royal, Larsen and Vanessa Van Basten creating some challenging music.
What stand's out about Prato-based, Dilatazione, is the impeccable percussion courtesy of drummer, Alessio Graffedi, who performs admirably throughout the 38 minutes of "Too Emotional For Maths". It comes as no surprise, that Graffedi has since became a member of Ulan Bator, as his incredible timing is perfectly suited to the sound of the French experimentalists.
That's not to say this album is for percussion enthusiasts only. On "Solo in una Strada Afollata", chiming guitars and a driving rythmn combine brilliantly with a horn section, that brings to mind former post-hardcore heroes, Bob Tilton. "Cendre In", meanwhile, employs breathy vocals in a similar vein to contemporaries Ulan Bator, only the Italian dialect sounds so much cooler.
The real challenge with "Too Emotional For Maths" is, that to fully enjoy the subtleties of this album, you must first find the key to unlock the rewards. When the key is found, the treasures available are a joy to behold. There are so many intricate intertwining guitar parts, twisted chord structures, illusive percussion touches and smatterings of electronics. This album, unlike many lesser post-rock efforts, is not an instant quick-fix of quiet-loud dynamics, it's an intelligent effort, that requires a certain degree of concentraition. Most importantly, though, this album is guarenteed to grow on you after repeated listens. Thinking about my record collection, some of my most cherished albums pan out this way.
Using the foundations laid by Chicago veterans, Tortoise, gives Dilatazione the canvas to truly express themselves. As the album progresses the sound slowly starts to become more dense and there is a sense that these Italians like to let loose too. "Ivano Marchetti" launches into a furious jam complete with phaser-laced drums, while "Cendre In" expands on these themes, proving Dilatzione aren't all about intricate guitar lines and technical proficeny, there's plenty of passion too.
Closer, "Tutto si Dimentica" is undoubtedly the best track, it is as if the band were slowly buliding their way to this moment. Towards the end, for three euphoric minutes a glorious sound is amassed using slightly off-kilter percussion and slabs of reverbed guitar. Then it all ends abruptly, just about the point it should erupt into a post-rock cliche. It's a confusing end, but then, Dilatazione prove throughout "Too Emotional.." that they like to keep the listener thinking.
Or perhaps they felt we have been rewarded enough?.