Sandro Perri

Sandro Perri
Plays Polmo Polpo

Marcus Boon

Sandro Perri’s music navigates a unique path between several of Toronto’s musical communities: the folk/jazz/improv of the various Rat-Drifting ensembles (many of whom appear on this disk), the experimental end of the dance music scene (Perri’s Polmo Polpo project often DJs or performs on techno lineups around the city, and his label Audi Sensa puts out adventurous slabs of beat driven sound), and the city’s ever-expanding indie rock scene (Perri also plays guitar on occasion in The Great Lake Swimmers).

This disk, which features reworkings of songs from Polmo Polpo’s Like Hearts Swelling is something like Polmo Polpo unplugged, with the former disk’s bubbling electronica transformed into guitar driven songs. Perri has a sweet but strong voice and the mixing of his falsetto with folky guitar strumming, quirky brass and electronics and occasional beats brings to mind John Martyn’s folk fusions. Another reference point is Arthur Russell: Polmo Polpo’s finest moment remains a twenty minute plus instrumental reworking of Russell’s dancefloor opus Kiss Me Again, and Perri’s synthesizing, expansive vision of dance music, displayed to good effect on this year’s Glissandro 70 disk, marks a refreshing continuation of the early 1980s avant dance scene’s explorations – and one that is not just nostalgic or retro in orientation.

On this disk it’s “World of Echo” period Russell that’s relevant as on the gorgeous, acoustic “Dreaming” and “Circles”, which Perri has recently been performing around Toronto in Double Suicide, a remarkable guitar/synth duo with improvisor Ryan Driver. The serenity in these songs feels hard-won, and their delicate but determined emotional precision constitutes a quiet triumph.

Originally published in Signal to Noise, 2006.

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