DST: Il Sistema Periodico
DST is the duo of Alberto Collodel on clarinets and Simone Di Benedetto on double bass, two young Italian musicians with an already long experience in the fields of jazz, contemporary music and free improvisation.
The bulk of their debut recording Il sistema periodico, a suite of seven compositions by Collodel, was inspired by Primo Levi’s book of the same title (translated in English as The periodic table), where the names of chemical elements are used as titles for the short stories that compose that memoir, often using those elements as metaphors to illustrate a personal experience that transcends its subject and becomes an account of collective history.
The same complex relationship between science and subjectivity, between formal clarity and spontaneous creativity, is at the core of this album, that utilizes different compositional strategies—graphic scores, schemes, gestures and open structures—to operate an original synthesis of the austere atmospheres of contemporary classical and the lively inventiveness of jazz and improvised music.
Collodel and Di Benedetto develop their dialogue with a strong sense of dynamics and a careful attention to detail, navigating through different scenarios with ease—from the contrasting rhythms of “Argon” to the timbral explorations of “Ferro,” through the fluid exchanges on “Zinco” and the sombre melodic meditations on “Nichel”—always maintaining a strong lyrical quality even in the most adventurous passages.
The album is completed by a piece by Di Benedetto, the opening “Landscape #1,” built on relaxed melodic lines and subtle contrapuntal interactions, and a composition by Anthony Braxton, the closing “110A,” where the unison theme is slowly dismantled, then reassembled and expanded in different directions. The choice of Braxton is significant, as it illustrates the duo’s attitude towards the jazz tradition—respecting its language while remaining attuned to its most unorthodox developments, expanding its possibilities through a meticulous, constantly engaging investigation of form and sound.