Sunday 19 November 2023

'The Gap' by Badge & Talkalot

'The Gap' marks the new album release from Gilberto Caleffi under his long-running music moniker, Badge & Talkalot.

The Italian DJ and producer has long been heralded for his diverse approach when it came to establishing the Badge & Talkalot brand.  Caleffi's full-length efforts to date have served almost as auto-biographical monuments charting his own musical excursions capturing his shifting trends and passions.  

'Greatest Hints', released in 2009 established his decidedly more pop orientated sound amongst like-minded artists for his Still Fizzy record label.  The independent Italian music hub unveiled a series of releases within the pop realms and provided a platform for artists including Elisa Genghini, Piccoli Omicidi and Matteo Toni, introducing Caleffi's distinguished talents as a producer and label head.

An allegiance with Philadelphia's Ropeadope Records would bring Badge & Talkalot to an even wider audience which coincided with a shift musically towards a more up-tempo soul and disco-esque sound via the release of 'Spaghetti Blaster' in 2016.  An album bolstered by a dream line-up of vocalists including Heidi Vogel, Laura Vane and Cecilia Stalin, the album boasted some excellent tracks and found Caleffi's bold reinvention a roaring success and with an aesthetic that carried over to the album's follow-up in 2020.  'Fragments of the Soul' found itself a more confident and more measured record - more versatile in its make-up, the album still showcased soul music at its core but this time perhaps not a record aimed specifically at packing the dance floors and able to introduce both ballads and more grittier-sounding street soul numbers aided in large part by the collaborations with Georgia Anne Muldrow.

The remix EP, 'Refractions', further warrants mention as the sensational contributions from luminaries including Kaidi Tatham, Inkswel, V.B.Kühl and Jack Stone, in their own way, represent the various stages of Caleffi's musical journey to date.  The four interpretations from 'Fragments of the Soul' demonstrate a wide array of styles indicative of the brilliant names enlisted for the project and the calibre of heavyweight DJs and producers that Gilberto Caleffi now finds himself in the conversation with.

Which brings us to new album release, 'The Gap'.  Once again, Caleffi finds himself in the privileged position of again reinventing his sound and his approach and looking to convey his passions through inspired new ways.  Aligning with musicians Andrea Cappi on keyboards and Paolo Zoboli on bass throughout the album, the eight-track release celebrates the glory days of neo-soul with lush compositions and backed by some fantastic vocalists.  

Tru Thoughts recording artist, Steven Bamidele, kicks the project off beautifully with 'To Call My Own' blessing the sublime production with a genuinely flawless vocal.  US rapper Quelle Chris jumps in on 'No Matter How', performing alongside Lojii and Brint Story, and delivering another album highlight; while vocalist JazzZ delivers a standout performance on two of the album's outstanding tracks 'About You' and 'Blue Notes'.

'The Gap' serves as another wonderful release from Gilberto Caleffi, and Badge & Talkalot, cementing his talents as a boundlessly talented producer with an ever-evolving perspective and vision for his music.

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