LP version. 180 gram vinyl. Natural is the latest collaboration between musical travelers and kindred spirits Nicola Conte and Stefania Dipierro, the culmination of a relationship rooted in a shared belief in the spiritually healing powers of music. The Italian duo take 2016 by storm with a sensual, sumptuous and highly accomplished record, firmly anchored in the traditions of Brazilian bossa nova, samba and jazz. Nicola first achieved international acclaim for his signature style of samba-influenced acid-jazz, which also drew inspiration from '60s and '70s Italian film soundtracks. Alongside his production work Nicola, he has laid out his musical vision through his guitar playing and songwriting, with numerous studio albums including 2004's Other Directions, released on Schema, a French subsidiary of Blue Note Records. His compilation series Viagem, all five volumes of which have been released on Far Out Recordings, provide an insight into the sounds of the past that have inspired his music of today - a peerless collection of lost bossa and samba jazz from the swinging Brazilian '60s. On this new collaborative release, Conte's forward thinking production cleverly complements and contrasts with the warmth of Dipierro's laid back inflection and gloriously rich timbres. Natural is aptly named, considering the ease with which Stefania and Nicola have re-assumed the roles of muse to one another, a musical relationship providing the deepest access to the poetry within their sound. The album's title track and first single is a perfect introduction to their world, a masterful blend of global influences in which a propulsive Afro-rhythm bolstered by a searing funk guitar, whilst soothing Rhodes chords provide a distinctly Brazilian warmth and Stefania's vocals offer up an enriching melody to soothe the heart and engage the mind. Alongside original compositions from Nicola and others, Natural also tantalizingly promises some inspired re-interpretations of classic Brazilian and jazz pieces: Trio Tenura's exemplary bossa groove "A Gira" and Steve Kuhn's beautiful "The Meaning Of Love" are among the tracks respectfully imbued with an updated resonance.