Italian guitarist Stefano Panunzi isn’t someone who likes to be rushed. Not that it wasn’t worth it, but Fjieri’s 2009 debut Endless was apparently 10 years in the making.
Breathing The Thin Air, featuring Tim Bowness, demonstrated Panunzi’s ability to mix intricate sound design and epic pop, wreathing the work in moody, noirish lighting and vaporous ennui in much the same way an arthouse movie director might have approached a pivotal scene. Six years on, a resurrected Fjieri picks up where that debut left off. A pre-King Crimson Jakko Jakszyk was invited to take part in 2013, and his role has expanded considerably beyond his initial remit – he’s co-written eight of these 12 meticulously groomed tracks. He’s joined by numerous guests, including fellow Crimsoneer Gavin Harrison on drums. Sinewy, elasticated bass bubbling between gleaming chords, precision-tooled beats and glistening atmospherics are carefully arranged with nothing left to chance. Such a tightly controlled environment contrasts with the brooding lyrics, and while the bleakness emanating from the words can become overbearing, a measure of comfort can be gleaned in Fjieri’s rich, uplifting melodies.