Review Summary: One of the best singer/songwriter albums published recently.
If you take a glance at the cover of this album, Cheers by Sebastian O, obviously somebody who is not a household name even with devoted music fans and read at least a lice of what the artist has written himself about it, you’d immediately think that something is completely wrong:
“If we then take into consideration the singer-songwriting world, the methodology has not been part of the creative process at all. My approach to this form of art tries to underline the importance of setting specific frames of methodology for the development of a certain musical project in order to re-establish the conceptual priority of the gesture over the shape. It is important for the artist to first define the gestural aim before exploring the form.”
What is this" A PhD thesis or a singer/songwriter album" Well, then you take a listen, and you could come to this conclusion - both!
Sebastian O, to his parents also known as Sebastian Mattiazzi, an Italian musician that splits his time between Venice and Brooklyn (not such bad choices) is obviously somebody who takes his music seriously and studiously. Not a big surprise when you find out that he was for a few years leading a progressive rock band and that he has also been coming up with improvisational guitar music under his own name over at Soundcloud.
But what do we have here" An improvisational/experimental singer/songwriter album" Well, maybe people are not used to setting approaches to this genre, but consciously or unconsciously, that is what Sebastian O has come up here, and he and Andrea Lombardini, his sole collaborator on this album have done an absolutely brilliant job.
Some ten years ago, Peter Broderick used an opposite, structured approach to singer/songwriter genre from the viewpoint of classical music. Sebastiano takes the look at the genre from the improvisational and modal jazz side (“Irish Rain”), or at moments as simply subconscious stream music.
Now, such music has been heard before, in the sense that there were genial music minds like “Skip’ Spence (his sole masterpiece Oar), Neil Young (Tonight’s The Night album), Jeff Buckley (his use of modal scales on Grace) or even former Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis who combined these on his sole solo album.
Sebastian O takes a similar approach and is able to come up with some amazing results. Without consciously introducing elements of jazz or any other music, but starting out with a concept that his singing and playing will reflect the mood of the moment, he has come up with a true understated gem. From the the Skip Spence stream-like opener “Following Your Eyes”, through subdued Jef Buckley rumination of “Blue and Gold” to Neil Young from his Tonight’s The Night/On The Beach phase and an incredible slowed down version of The Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated”, Mattiazzi has proven that you can actually come up with brilliant music, even if you think too much about it.