The road which London classical prog-rock duo Armonite took to form their band was quite a long and winding one. The classically trained composer Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi formed the first incarnation of Armonite in 1996 while in college in Italy. The pair eventually split up with Jacopo moving forward with his career as a classical violinist and violin teacher, while Paolo turned his sights to a career in music administration. Fifteen long years later the pair reunited under their former moniker and began to make music again.
The pair recruited Porcupine Tree bassist, Colin Edwin and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt, and recorded all their parts remotely from different parts of the world. And the fun didn’t stop there. The album they put together, The Sun is New each Day, was produced by Paul Reeve, who famously worked with the band Muse, and if that wasn’t enough it was also mastered at London’s infamous Abbey Road Studios. With so many talented people working on The Sun is New each Day, it’s no surprise that the sound quality is outstanding, the arrangements powerful, and each and every note taught as a tightrope.
Right out of the gate Armonite lays out what the main vibes of The Sun is New each Day are going to feel like. The songs are heavily driven by Jacopo Bigi’s electric violin, which is as powerful, if not more so than the guitar on Joe Satriani solo record. The opening track, “Suitcase War” is bursting with power led by the violent violin, though it would be nothing if not for the bass thuds, the whirling keys, and crisp drums which accent the violin driven fugue so well.
“G as in Gears” gets a boost from some spritely electronica and a bit of spoken word from Samuel Gomper's famous speech, “What does the Working Man Want?” and the track “Sandstorm” has a bit of Middle Eastern flair to it, while “Slippery Slope” and “Satellites” have a bit of Gypsy flair mixed with early electronica.
The Sun is New each Day is a brilliant and bold album. Paolo Fosso and Jacopo Bigi along with their mates are talented musicians and without question have mastered their respective instruments. But the sheer power and force of their music deserves to be heard live, which is the only nag I have about such music being listened to through speakers. If you see Armonite on a bill near you, you’d be wise to check them live.
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