Calibro 35 Unleash Wide-Ranging Cinematic Funk Grooves on ‘Momentum’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Calibro 35 is an Italian combo that labels itself as “cinematic funk”. Generally, it’s a good thing when bands create their own label to describe their music because it shows that the band is hard to fit into well-known categories. The trouble with a band creating its own genre is that it’s hard to define. What exactly is cinematic funk? Well, part of it is that this group is influenced by composers like Ennio Morricone. However, it also means that the band creates music that is cinematic in its scope and feel. You may not really understand what cinematic funk is, but the new album Momentum will definitely help you get a pretty good idea.

Cinematic funk is a fitting tag for this group because Calibro 35 creates soundscapes more than just songs. Like Funkadelic, this band can combine funky rhythms to get you moving with psychedelic guitar sounds. However, it’s not unusual for this band to add another layer of sound with some strings – as evidenced by “Death of Storytelling”. 

This group has so much going on in its songs that it’s difficult to decipher everything you hear. “Torn Down” is a good example, with the rhythm section propelling the song with a groove that gets you racking in your seat. On top of that, you hear horns, keyboards and spacey vocals. In the context of cinematic funk, it’s hard to imagine exactly in what kind of scene this song would play. With the swirl of tense sounds at the end, it could be used in something like a Hitchcock movie when one of the characters is having a breakdown.  

“Black Moon”, featuring London-based artist MEI, is a combination of rock, funk and hip-hop. The rock component comes mostly from the guitar while the funk comes from the rhythm section. There is also a spacey component with the backing vocals. Meanwhile MEI raps over all of this musical activity and grabs your attention with her style, which is sometimes rapid-fire. The way the vocals were recorded is reminiscent of Massive Attack.

Overall, this is a really cool album. The group keeps you guessing as far as what sounds you’ll hear next or together. It’s not unusual to hear a moody groove with some sounds that could just as easily be in a spaghetti western. It may not be easy to describe this band, but then maybe the best description you can give is to let the music speak for itself. Put this album on for you and your friends, and let the sound fill the room while you enjoy your favorite beverage. 

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