Sometimes it’s easy to forget the versatility and talent of musicians when you associate them with a particular genre or band. So imagine the surprise of this editorial intern (unpaid!) when he read the first sentence of this press release from NNA Tapes: “Tredici Bacci is a 14-piece group of young musicians from Boston, Massachusetts under the impressive orchestral direction of Simon ‘Luxardo’ Hanes, perhaps best known for his madman bass playing in Guerilla Toss.”
Yeah, that Guerilla Toss. The Guerilla Toss that’s been putting ear plugs in our ears and primal raptures in our souls for years. The Guerilla Toss that’s provided us with hits such as “Gay Disco” and “diluted fetus circuit tycoon”. The Guerilla Toss we love, the Guerilla Toss our parents hate—Guerilla Toss. A fucking member of Guerilla Toss scored an album of orchestral music. And if the name of the group, Tredici Bacci, doesn’t cue you in to the sound, then the album itself will.
The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta sees Hanes coming into his own as a composer; it’s a beautiful collection of pieces inspired by 60s and 70s Italian film scores. Think the aural aesthetic of Spaghetti Westerns, Commedia all’italiana and Giallo Slasher flicks, but reimagined through the lens of retrospect. The track featured here, “Carina Botto”, features an expressive use of strings, solo vocals à la Ennio Morricone, and jazz improvisation by way of trumpet. Hanes’ beautifully orchestrated layers evoke images of cities by night, vast desert landscapes, and the big reveal of the lead woman of the film. “Carina Botto” feels like it belongs in an old movie (as does the entire album), but it doesn’t pretend to belong anywhere else. The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta pays homage to this beautiful musical tradition, and Hanes’s interpretation of that tradition is beautiful in itself, a work that deserves its own place in the musical landscape.
The Thirteen Tapes Cassetta is out on cassette April 22 on NNA Tapes.