Marco Benevento | Benevento
(Royal Potato Family)
On his latest album, titled simply Benevento, Marco Benevento goes all Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder on us as a one-man band and wizard of melody and rhythm, exploring the common ground between the ambient chill room and the hot, sweaty dance floor. Benevento's music variously suggests the influence of 1990s jam bands, LCD Soundsystem, and Gorillaz. I hear touches of Big Audio Dynamite in "At the End or the Beginning," with its upbeat melody and bouncy groove, and traces of the 1970s jazz-rock fusion of Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock elsewhere. His acoustic piano playing is a funky delight, whether it's the bebop soloing of "The Warm Up" or the Leon Russell-like soul-rock of "Like Me." Benevento sets his ethereal processed vocals in trippy, hook-laden arrangements, with a variety of sounds and textures popping up in a glorious 360- degree aural mix. To call Benevento a "keyboardist" isn't even the half of it—he is a consummate musician, producer, and composer, an all-around musical conceptualist, Woodstock's answer to Brian Eno.