Francesco Cusa's 1999 release on Bassesfere Records, "Du Demon et D'Autres Questions", proposes that it will be an interesting album by the very fact that it comes in a round handmade paper case. The liner notes are both in Italian and English.They address the concept of the recording which is that the devil penetrates our everyday lives and it is to the embodiments of the devil that Cusa dedicates this album. Literary allusions are made of which I am not aware, but that doesn't matter. The music speaks independently of the allusions.
This group produces some incredibly smart and unusually interesting music. The textures that emanate are captivating. Polyrhythmic content is not spare. A couple of the pieces are structured like a symphony where there are distinct movements and appropriate dynamics. The instrumentation borders on a richness that is too good to be called experimental. Although I could map each one of the cuts, I would be cheating the listener. What I can say is that the vocals are sometimes gelatinous as in "Cobal" and, in other cuts, supply mysterious presence. Cusa's group performs the shortest version of a Monk tune that I have ever heard. The drums & brass play a significant role in all of the works. "Le Parfum de Grenouille" transforms the aural surface that is normally associated with a big band sound. The huge swells of sound in "Halphas" resemble Joe McPhee's orchestral interpretation of Mingus's "Pithecanthropus Erectus". The electronics on the whole balance the entire sound. The finish is outstandingly discrete.
The consistency from piece to piece qualifies this CD as excellent. But, here is the problem. The cuts on the CD do not correspond to the cuts outlined on the cover. There are two cuts missing. Is this an intentional part of the Devil's play or is this a mistake on the part of the producers of the recording? I'll never know. Much to my dismay.