|Gianni 'Jana' Rojatti's Dolcetti - 'Metallo Beat' (Heart Of Steel Records)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Saturday, 23 April 2011 05:00|
I'm a cynic. I know, I know. But how can this album be any good? Let's look at the evidence. Cheesy album title 'Metallo Beat'. Parenthesised nickname/diminuative 'Jana'. Contrived track lengths - all being exactly 3:33. And gimmicky track titles - all (bar one) beginning with 'Tr'.
With so many black marks against it before we've even started this album can't be any good can it?
But one quick listen is all it takes to prove the opposite. Amazingly it is good. Astonishingly good. Now instead of asking myself: "Who is Gianni Rojatti" I'm now asking: "Who is Gianni Rojatti!!" On paper these questions may look identical but it's all in the double exclamation marks - imagine it this time with feeling - it's all in the delivery.
And Gianni Rojatti delivers in the most unexpected fashion armed with just a guitar and one accomplice - drummer Erik Tulissio - collectively known as Dolcetti. The words "never judge a book by its cover" was invented for this guy. Gianni Rojatti isn't just another shredder he's a contender. And why he isn't up there with the Satrianis, the Vais, the Moores and the MacAlpines of this world I'll never know. Maybe time will tell.
Fans of Steve Vai should love this as, in a way, Rojatti deals with the musical stuff that influenced Steve Vai all those years ago but doesn't really deal with so much anymore. So there is strangeness aplenty in the form of Zappaisms but also straight melody too. And on 'Tresex' for example it's not only Steve Vai who Rojatti tips the hat to but also to Zappa's unique guitar playing style. The tone is spot on.
'Transport' is a very weird song. Weird in a good way. By turns it's as insane as a King Crimson song and as melodic as a Satriani tune.
But it isn't even this musical weirdness that wins me over - although it does go a long way. There's quite a bit more to this album that you wouldn't necessarily hear in a guitar album by the usual suspects. There's a smattering of gentle understated prog as well - as in 'Tremors' and 'Trytrebor'. But mostly there's also an excitement, danger and drive to a lot of the tracks - a heaviness reminiscent of King's X that's lacking on the albums by Satriani et al.
But, like Satriani, it would seem that Gianni Rojatti steps up to the mic once in while and it's here that he delivers the odd one out - the only track that doesn't begin with 'Tr'. It's a Klark Kent (Stewart Copeland) cover entitled 'Away From Home'. And if you're familiar with Stewart Copeland's other vocal offerings, "On Any Other Day" for example, then you'll get the idea of the whimsical flavour of this track. I think it works well and serves to give the listener an insight into Rojatti's personality and musicality which is quirky without limitation.
If the name Gianni 'Jana' Rojatti hasn't yet escaped the borders of Italy then be prepared for that to change in the future. I'm sure that it should be flying out over to the UK and beyond to America real soon.
I love being a cynic. When your first impressions prove to be right it feels great. And when you're proved wrong, like with this album, it feels even better.