Best Albums of 2020: Gigi Masin ‘Calypso’

Calypso (Apollo)

Italian multi-instrumentalist Gigi Masin is back with his first major statement since his trio Gaussian Curve’s last effort from 2017. As far as I can tell, he plays everything on Calypso and it’s more of a layered studio creation than his GC work. Inspired by his visits to the myth-laden Greek island of Gavdos, it’s one of his best and most cohesive records in a long career that began in with the proto-Balearic chillout classic Wind (1986). Some of the shimmering, melodious pieces swirl around a core sound of jazzy piano, light synth arpeggios and warm orchestral drones. Others weave in oddly treated sounds and loops, like the eerie shuffling scratches of “Enter Venus” and distant tribal drums on “The Water Sybil”. He plays a zither or dulcimer on the achingly lovely “Amaranta” alongside a smooching brass-like synth line. Most crucially, Calypso finds the artist’s much-lauded ‘Venetian grace’ intact throughout: his sense of restraint, his love of mystery, and his romantic feel for landscape.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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