Whether you choose to label it a form of jazz fusion or sonically controlled chaos, there’s no doubt that Marco Benevento’s style of expression is a world of improvisation. It’s always been the improv side of music that gives way for more diverse chemistry between musicians which is no different on Benevento’s third full-length release, Between the Needles and Nightfall. The record itself seems to have more of a live feel and you can feel the interaction between the rhythm section and the effective lead piano.
Opening the album is a track titled, “Greenpoint” that features an offbeat piano stroke mixed with a static snare roll. The background distortion gives it an unearthed feeling, but things continue linearly with Benevento’s piano layers. The song opens up about three quarters of the way through as pounding cymbal crashes mixed with high chords provide for a smooth exit. Leading into “Between the Needles,” Benevento starts easily with a swimming piano melody that is complemented by a hollow bass line. As the snare enters, the track picks up fast but quietly recedes back to its original entry point. Similarly to the opening run, the half title track opens into a bright closing that pulls together sirens but maintains its effect.
It seems that the first third of the record has somewhat of a reoccurring trend with the arrangement of repetitive chord progressions, though the tracks still embody their own personality. “Numbers” was subject to the same case with the opening melody setting the tone of the track, but instrumentally Benevento goes off on an incredible tangent in the closing portion of the song which really brought forth his technical musicianship.
“It Came From You” is a mash-up of music circuitry with an assortment of effects overlaid on top of drum rhythms and Benevento’s organs. “Ila Frost” and “You Know I’m No Good” are songs that expose Marco’s abilities the most on the record; featuring more of straight forward lead piano role, the tracks bring out less of a cluttered feel.
The record seems to be split into two completely different styles and moods. The latter half of the tracks seem to be more open ended with deeper piano melodies like on “Wolf Trap” and “Music is Still Secret.” If you can get past some of the circuit bending and distortion that Benevento incorporates into his arrangements then you will have a better time peering through the window into his musical psyche.