Louis Siciliano’s Hybrid-Filled “Ancient Cosmic Truth” 

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Emerging from out of the sonic shadows like a beastly force to be reckoned with, “Bambara’s Symmetries” welcomes us into the warm embrace of Louis Siciliano’s hybrid-filled Ancient Cosmic Truth like no other song here could have. The first in a tracklist of only four unique and original compositions, “Bambara’s Symmetries” sets things off on a swinging note before turning us over to the gluttonous grooving of the jazz-fueled “Translucent Dodecahedron,” frisky “The Secret of Mansa” and the fiery title cut, each of which boasts a more provocative punch than the song that came before it. Louis Siciliano is on a mission to quake floorboards and shake hips in Ancient Cosmic Truth, and he couldn’t sound much more adept at either even if he wanted to.

“Bambara’s Symmetries” draws a little more jazz flavor into the pot courtesy of a flamboyant melodic part that at first seems just a bit meandering, but its nucleus has just as much of a swagger as it does anything experimental and overtly to the left of the mainstream. “Translucent Dodecahedron” is a reconstructed dirge with a blisteringly hot arrangement that immediately reminded me of some of the more maximalist jazz I’ve heard lately, but I wouldn’t say it – or any of the songs here – would qualify as a sound-alike. There’s as much of a unique spirit to this tune as there is the statelier title track in this record, and while these two compositions in particular couldn’t be any more different cosmetically, they don’t make for odd neighbors in this album at all. Ancient Cosmic Truth celebrates the diversity of modern jazz as we hear it contemporarily, and that could be why it’s such an accessible offering no matter which angle we’re analyzing it from.

“The Secret of Mansa” turns up the confident stomp of “Translucent Dodecahedron” to fit in with the eclectic tone of the midsection in this record, but it isn’t until we get into the side of the song that we get a good idea of just how multilayered a dynamic Siciliano is working with in the studio here. Along with the instrumental confidence that we find around every turn here, this particular track feels like a progressive exercise that could be transformed into a 30-minute opus on stage. We take a turn for the conventional with the return to steady grooving more often than we don’t in this tracklist, but the transition between styles in Ancient Cosmic Truth somehow never feels jarring or unexpectedly ripping.

A broodingly engaging salvo penetrates our speakers in the concluding track in Ancient Cosmic Truth, its titular cut, and it’s at this moment that the gravity of this record’s emotionality completely sinks in. Siciliano is a relative unknown to most mainstream audiences at the moment, but if this is the caliber of performance we can anticipate seeing and hearing from him in the future still to come, his status in the industry is going to swell faster than a hurricane wave. This is a wonderful way of getting acquainted with his artistic narrative, and I’ve got a feeling he has even more to offer.

Loretta Kim

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