Simona Armenise’s electric guitar on #neuguitars #blog


I have to make amends. I receive many messages and emails from guitarists and record labels who offer me their music, often and willingly with a link on Spotify (which I don’t use) or on Bandcamp or on Soundcloud. Often and willingly these are interesting projects but it’is almost impossible for me to follow them all, also because at the same time I receive many CDs that attract my interest much more, thanks to my passion for music collecting. But every now and then, something amazes me, pushes me to deepen, especially when I receive professional emails like the one from the New Model Label that introduced me to the interesting world of Simona Armenise’s electric guitar.

Armenise has a very interesting and varied curriculum. Born in Bari in 1977, Simona Armenise, achieved, with honors, the “Diploma Accademico di II livello in Discipline Musicali – solo-interpretative guitar instrument address” at the conservatory “N. Rota ”of Monopoli (Ba) under the guidance of M. ° Felici and M. ° Grandinetti, the latter a great friend of the Neuguitars blog. At the end of her studies she also presented a thesis on electroacoustic music dedicated to the composer Eric Chasalow, author of the piece “‘Scuse Me” for electric guitar.

The curriculum also presents a series of transversal collaborations, moving easily between different genres such as the contemporary (Festival di Musica Contemporanea “URTICANTI” (2008), Festival “5 Giornate di Milano” (2009), “Milano suona in Do”, “Notti trasfigurate”to Villa Simonetta Milano (2011), jazz (Squinzano Jazz Festival playing with Franco Cerri and the quintet Oberon, Phonetica Jazz Festival Maratea (2011), Annarita Romito Jazz Ensemble), progressive-rock (Floating State), jazz-rock ( Ten Meters Underground) and the classic (Accademia Mandolinistica Pugliese).


All this path then led to a musical form based on a skilful mix of different genres between a traditional (classic and rock) repertoire, with a particular eye towards contemporary music, pieces of her own composition, and the use of new technologies for the guitar world (electric guitar and use of pedals and effects) which has so far led to the creation of two excellent CDs, both featuring Ares Tavolazzi playing the double bass and electric bass: the double CD “ORU KAMI” (2016), produced by Verterecords, and this last, excellent, “Lotus Sedimentations” released almost at the end of 2019 for the New Model Label. They are two records that already betray a very marked passion and a very Japanese approach, with a methodical care down to the most intimate detail. Let’s start with “Oru Kami”, Oru, to fold and Kami, paper.


Hence also Origami, the art of folding paper. I don’t remember when it was the last time I saw a debut album released as a double cd. There is a lot going on here and all these pieces faithfully reflect the complex curriculum shown by Simona.

The first song already shows a programmatic title, “Satienedye”, with the beginning that reminds me of “Music for eighteen Musicians” by Steve Reich, followed by Japan with “Akira”, a fabulous rereading of “L’Abito della Sposa” by the Italian Ivano Fossati, the semi-suite “Thor’s Well ” with the presence of Ares Tavolazzi and the final” Landscape “in itself an ambient document for future sound navigation.


The second CD is a bit different from the first, cleaner sounds, arpeggios, shows Simona’s classical line-up, but ends with a masterpiece such as “Trance Afro-Medioriental Express”, a true high-impact crossover marathon. Really a lot of good stuff.


At the end of 2019 HASU NO CHIKUSEKI 蓮 の 蓄積 (Lotus Sedimentations) arrives, a concept album that continues the path started by “Oru Kami” expressing a greater synthesis and greater artistic maturity. Japan is always present from the title that recalls the philosophy of the Lotus Flower in oriental culture and where Ares Tavolazzi (if you don’t know who Tavolazzi is, go and listen to the Area records) confirms a watchful and discreet presence.

“Lotus Sedimentation” avoids some prolixities present on the first record but confirms the heterogeneous style and the abuse of loop machines, electronics and experimentation which, together with a sound that is at the same time clear and energetic, seem to characterize the Armenise’s style.


Three years are not a short time span in an artistic journey and we can feel it, all the songs have more complex structures and the interplay with the talented Tavolazzi and Vito Pesole (on drums) is really excellent. “Lotus Sedimentations” is a layered record, where layers of sounds, loops, atmospheres, melodies and random noises continue to be added, moving between several genres (post-rock, psychedelia, ambient, Nordic nu-jazz and dubstep) and with many quotes, but which, above all, has a crazy and bewitching sound.


In the end, as you have seen, despite Soundcloud and associates, I preferred to buy the records. As always. If you love music, if you like an artist, forget about Spotify and invest a few euros by supporting and buying his or her records. Behind every piece there is always a lot of work, a lot of passion and a lot of desire. Do it.