With its tenth record from Fortunato Durutti Marinetti, Quindi, in collaboration with Soft Abuse, continues to celebrate songwriting and storytelling framed by curious musicality. In keeping with the label's trajectory to date, this is an album which draws on a universal human sentimentality and presents it with an uncommon flair. In the case of Toronto-based Daniel Colussi, the man behind Eight Waves In Search Of An Ocean, his melancholic poetry cuts through with a clarity which calls to mind all-time greats from Anette Peacock through to Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen.
Turin-born Colussi has drifted through various bands, guises and styles over the past 20 years, but since settling into Fortunato Durutti Marinetti as a vehicle for his songs, he’s found a strong expressive impetus which transcends genre to become entirely hinged on the power of his words and melodies. The first album under this alias was a 2020 cassette album, Desire, later pressed on vinyl due to demand in tandem with the release of 2022’s Memory’s Fool. On each record, Colussi has found distinct arrangements of players to set the mood, ranging from gently lilting art and folk rock through to orchestrated balladry, but Eight Waves In Search Of An Ocean widens the palette of Fortunato Durutti Marinetti to create an album in which each song feels like a tale unto itself.
Colussi’s renewed approach is instantly apparent as album opener ‘Lightning On A Sunny Day’ unfurls, informed greatly by producer Sandro Perri’s input pursuing a hybrid electro-organic sound. The addition of drum machines and synths to the musical palette bring with them the strong connotations of pop while the sax and violin sounds similarly smooth and silky, and one can’t help but think of John Martyn’s slide into the digital sound of Sapphire or Kraftwerk’s bittersweet synthetic tenderness.
Within this sound, there’s still space for the energy to fluctuate according to the whims of songs. ‘The Flowers’ turns inward with a soft-touch composition as delicate as the petals Colussi describes falling to the floor. ‘Misfit Streams’ and first single ‘Clerk Of Oblivion’ savour the fluid, luxuriant tone of fretless bass with all the 80s connotations intact. Colussi remains the central focus whatever happens around him, in possession of the kind of unforced charisma which drives a song deep into the listener’s heart. It’s at once entirely his own style and yet comforting and familiar. The lyrics might sweep you into the singer’s inner world, similarly to the experience listening to late 60s Tim Buckley, or you might well inhale the mellow jazziness of the harmonic movement like you would Joni Mitchell on Hejira.
The emotional direction of each track is never linear - ‘Smash Your Head Against The Wall’ snarls its rhythm section before the strings sow their aching beauty to cool the song’s temper, winding up as a track of distinct halves jabbing at each other. “I Need You More’ leaves space for spiralling flute solos and strangely stiff, militaristic drum rolls in the midst of a sweet, slightly sad synth ballad, the final wave receding back into the tidal undulations of Colussi’s unique exploration of his muse.
The artist himself dubs his musical expression as “poetic jazz rock” with a sideways glance - it’s not exactly poetry, far from trad jazz and it doesn’t really rock, yet the tag feels uncannily like it fits, just like the curious music it’s used to describe.