In his new EP Ancient Cosmic Truth, noted jazz player Louis Siciliano establishes himself as more of an experimentalist than a capitalist professional in four of the most brilliantly stylized tracks he’s penned to date. In songs like “Translucent Dodecahedron” and the title track, Siciliano gets back to the fundamentals that create a foundation for his unique harmonies, peeling back all of the polish and revealing an exposed aesthetic that is perhaps twice as fetching as anything he’s recorded in his career before now.
Ancient Cosmic Truth is an extended play defined by its melodic ambitiousness as much as it is its delicate rhythm and glorious textures, and that alone makes it a record worth closely examining this February.
While it’s not the only component that sparkles like a diamond, the aggressive play in the title track, “The Secret of Mansa,” and “Translucent Dodecahedron” is just as expressive as anything Siciliano can do with a more moderate tempo. There’s a decadence to the purr of the keys in “Translucent Dodecahedron” in particular that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since first encountering it last week. The harmonies remind me of Sun Ra in a few spots, but with less of an existential overtone to the structure of the music. Siciliano is the kind of player who can connect with almost any instrumental fabric, but I’ve found that he taps into a special part of his soulfulness in broadminded numbers like this one.
All four of these songs are provocatively arranged, but I think that “Bambara’s Symmetries” is probably the most stirring of this bunch. Right out of the gate, Siciliano dabbles in an enigmatic sonic concept that could be interpreted through a lens of retrospection and optimism simultaneously, which is certainly a rather difficult balance for any artist to strike, but he never allows the beat to devolve into mundanity nor painfully unfocused surrealism. He’s got a story to tell us in this composition, as well as the three that join it in the tracklist of Ancient Cosmic Truth, and he’s careful to ensure that he gets his point across to his audience without leading us into predictable corners masquerading as smart songwriting.
Ancient Cosmic Truth is a solid five-star EP from an artist who is finding his groove and showcasing his most proficient talents in the work he turns in, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has been looking to hear quality jazz music this season. Elegant, emotional, fiercely assertive, and conceptually forward-thinking in all of its statements, Louis Siciliano’s latest record makes the classic elements of jazz, most of which have fallen to the wayside for mainstream artists, exciting for us again.
There’s no theatrical narrative here, no controversial nor augmented components that you would commonly hear from a player trying to pander to the masses – there’s just beautiful, unadulterated musical showmanship that not only draws from the well of an iconic genre’s past but boldly looks ahead to the future without any fears whatsoever.