One Track Mind: Marco Cappelli's Italian Surf Academy, "Deep, Deep Down" (2012)

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Italian guitarist Marco Cappelli might be ensconced in the downtown New York improvised music scene, but he can’t help but to continue to view American culture from the distance of the Atlantic Ocean. Raised on spaghetti westerns championed by the great filmmaker Ennio Morricone, Cappelli turns his nostalgia into a fun, sometimes zany record celebrating Italy’s past fascination with Yankee symbols, especially as depicted by Hollywood. Thus came the creation of Cappelli’s Italian Surf Academy trio (with Luca Lo Bianco, electric bass and Francesco Cusa, drums) and today’s release of their record, The American Dream.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Cappelli teams up with bassist Giacomo Merega and saxophonist Noah Kaplan for an imaginary “soundtrack of a suspense thriller movie,” Watch The Walls Instead.]

Cappelli dips into Morricone’s oeuvre three times over the course of The American Dream, but none capture the spirit of the record better than “Deep Deep Down.” That title are the only English words Gaia Matteuzzi sings, the rest of the lyrics deliver in that rich Italian tongue as Cappelli’s reverbed drenched guitar, hitting the whammy bar and picking single lines that follow Matteuzzi’s vocal, conjures up Western and surf imagery, all in a 60s wrapper that wouldn’t sound out of place in an Austin Powers movie.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Check out Mark Saleski’s straight-out-of-the-box impressions of The American Dream.]

Being an avanteer, Cappelli couldn’t resist tossing in a couple of spooky, free moments into the song, once in the middle and again to end the song. These “interruptions” work as dramatic turns that oddly add to the movie vibe of what is, after all, a song written for cinema. In the end, the charm of the song isn’t American culture, but the Italian culture that sprung up around American culture. And in the span of this four and a half minute song, Marco Cappelli captured so many aspects of that so well.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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