Sunday, 17 October 2021

TIMELESS TIME

Tempo senza tempo is the second and last album by the line up gathered in Sardinia by Adriano Monteduro under the name Reale Accademia di Musica. It was released in 2009 on the independent label Delta Italiana and the line up is the same of its predecessor, Il linguaggio delle cose: Adriano Monteduro (music, lyrics, arrangements, keyboards, vocals), Giuseppe Aramo (vocals, percussion), Antonello Monteduro (piano, keyboards), Manuel Muzzu (bass). The overall sound is more varied than on the previous work and, in my opinion, the quality of the compositions is better but it a has nothing to share with Reale Accademia di Musica 1972 eponymous debut...

 


The ethereal opener “Latenza sogno” evokes falling thoughts that at night get lost into a dreamy blue sea... Then it’s the turn of “Caccia alle balene” (Whaling), a piece against whale hunters, that starts by annoying drum machines and a macarena rhythm and then, luckily, turns into a passionate, melodic environmental declaration inviting you to listen to the beat of the heart of Moby Dick...

On “Paranoia (Déjà vu)” you can find electronic touches and drum machines that contrast with vintage keyboard waves while the lyrics tell of the inner duality hidden inside every person... The following “Vulcano” (Volcano) tries to describe in music and words the feelings and the reflections of a man who, during the night, admires the fiery force of a volcanic eruption...

The lively “Atomo” (Atom) is a short instrumental track with a good interaction between bass and keyboards that leads to the long, evocative “Sogno (Compagno di sempre)” (Dream, companion ever) where music and words paint blurred images, lights and shades, labyrinths of memories drifting away on a misty sea towards never-land...

 


Thin Colours” is a calm, short instrumental track for bass and keyboards while “Get Back” (despite the English title the song is sung in Italian) mixes tango and electronica to depict a sensation of fulfilment and spiritual tiredness. Next comes the delicate “Tempo senza tempo” (Timeless time), a reflection about time and its abstract relativity...

Merlino (Mirddyn)” was inspired by the mythic character of the Arthurian legends. The musical landscape and the subject matter could recall the atmospheres of Alan Stivell’s album the Mist Of Avalon (in particular, Le chant de Taliesin) as they try to conjure up the imagine of the old enchanter and wizard running again through the forest of Kelyddon... The following “African Oldoway” is a nice instrumental track that takes us in another direction (the title refers to the Oldoway human skeleton of the type of homo sapiens found in Tanganyika Territory, in 1913). Then “Attimi” (Moments) ends the album with a reflection about time and space where single moments resound like bouncing pebbles on the waters of life...

On the whole, despite the large use of drum machines and electronic effects, I enjoyed the album. Nonetheless the name Reale Accademia di Musica that Adriano Montedurro decided to revive might be misleading for prog fan. Some members of Reale Accademia di Musica’s original line up did not appreciate this operation and Adriano Monteduro dropped the name after this work releasing other albums in the same style as a solo artist, albums that could be of some interest for prog lovers...

 


More info:
 

 

Saturday, 16 October 2021

THE LANGUAGE OF THINGS

In 1974 Adriano Monteduro released an album with Reale Accademia di Musica, then, after a single in 1978, in the eighties he left the music business and relocated in Santa Teresa di Gallura, in the province of Sassari. In 2008 he exhumed the name of the historic Roman Italianprog band for an album entitled Il linguaggio delle cose that was released on the Delta Italiana label with a line up featuring, along with Adriano Monteduro (music, lyrics, arrangements, keyboards, vocals) also Giuseppe Aramo (vocals, percussion), Antonello Monteduro (piano, keyboards) and Manuel Muzzu (bass). There are no founder members of Reale Accademia di Musica involved in this project and the overall sound is very different from that of the 1972 eponymous album of the band. Here the music is closer to new age than prog while the hermetic lyrics deal with philosophical issues...

 


The calm, reflective opener “Genesi” conjures up the imagine of a bonfire breaking the darkness to let you see the unknown and give breath to the truth... Then “Uomo-Terra” (Man-Earth) every now and again could recall some pieces of Franco Battiato from the eighties and deals with the duality of life and the relativity of time and space. “Il linguaggio delle cose” (The language of things) evokes the mysteries of cosmos and life and in some melodic lines reminds me slightly of Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight...

Despite the English title, the following “Dance With Me” and “Homeless” are sung in Italian. The first one tells in music and words of a moonless night and of the desire to dance cradled by the sound of the sea waves, in harmony with the world, the second one portrays a storybook of wrong choices, dreams of freedom, shadows and lights... 

 


Next comes the ethereal “Infinito” (Infinite) invites you to the show of creation in a timeless time pulsing in the veins of eternity... The closer “La pace nelle biglie di vetro: un mondo nuovo” (The peace in the marbles: a new world) is a very long track (more than 18 minutes!). It’s a piece about the need to push the limits of what human beings can achieve without surrender in front of the raging waters of sea of Life, in a game of atoms where the future runs free... Here the music flows away at a slow pace and the rhythm never takes off.

On the whole, a good album with a slow pace and refined electronic arrangements but beware! It could have a strong soporific effect.


 

Friday, 15 October 2021

THE LOST COMET

In 1974 the same team of musicians that contributed to the recording sessions of the album credited to Adriano Monteduro and Reale Accademia di Musica, with the exception of Carlo Bruno on bass and the help from Pericle Sponzilli and others, recorded for the RCA label another album, La cometa, that was supposed to be the first solo effort of Reale Accademia di Musica’s vocalist Henryk Topel Cabanes. Nonetheless, during the seventies it was never released and the tapes got lost. As told by Henryk Topel in a 2013 interview for the site italianprog.com, the band split up soon after the release of their first eponymous album and they tried to survive in the music business as session men… “La cometa was recorded for RCA in 1974 soon after the record we made for Monteduro. The record company gave us much money for it and each of us decided to try his own solo career, some even took off for exotic countries and everything ended...”. Before parting ways, the musicians from Reale Accademia di Musica contributed to the recording sessions of the 1975 album entitled 1930: Il domatore delle scimmie for the Italian pop singer Nada... Then the curtain fell.

 


It wasn’t until 2010 that a tape with La cometa sessions re-emerged from oblivion and was finally digitally released under the name Reale Accademia di Musica on the Pinball Music label, as recalls Henryk Topel Cabanes in the aforementioned interview: the master, whose only copy was kept by my old friend Stefano Fournier (who also took part in the recording) laid forgotten for many years. Not long ago I requested the rights to Universal, owner of all the historic material of RCA, and they told me they didn't have anything left, so I had the old tape remastered and brought it to light again... Then, in 2013, a physical, remastered edition on CD and vinyl was released on the Poliedizioni label with a different art work. So, now we have the chance to listen to it...

 


The opener “La cometa” is a blues-rock piece inviting you to ride the tail of a bizarre, shining comet of sugar and silk, capable to transform every man into a poet and to change his mentality... Then it’s the turn of “Nenae”, a nice acoustic ballad with a dreamy atmosphere and romantic lyrics portraying a beautiful girl running free with bright, dancing colours in her hair. She leaves behind her mystical traces of love...

Quando morirò” (When I will die) is a lively country rock piece. The lyrics evoke happiness and joy, the right song to play during the funeral of the protagonist, a man always ready to have fun... Next comes “Aereoporto” (Airport) that depicts in music and words the feelings of a man who is going to take off on a nightly flight...

 


Makumba Hotel” is a beautiful instrumental track with an exotic atmosphere full of nocturnal suggestions. It could be a perfect score for an Italian film of the seventies... Then the calm “Oratorio” (Oratory) evokes memories from a childhood spent in a Catholic institute underlying the contradictions of a religious education.

Una canzone” (A song) is a different version of a piece about the healing power of music recorded for the album Adriano Monteduro e Reale Accademia di Musica. The following “Uomo rosa” (Pink Man) could recall The Beatles of “When I’m Sixty-Four” or “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and describes a peculiar, unreal character, a kind of erotic reverse of real people who dances for a while and then melts into the night… The short instrumental “Topolino Topel” (Mickey Mouse Topel) ends the album with a light touch and a rag time pace that could recall a silent black and white comedy film.

On the whole, an uneven work containing some interesting pieces and weaker ones but that is worth listening to.

 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

SONGS FROM THE MAGIC WOOD

In 1974 some members of Reale Accademia di Musica worked along with other musicians as a backing band for an album of singer songwriter Adriano Monteduro. The line up featured Adriano Monteduro (acoustic guitar), Henryk “Enrique” Topel Cabanes (vocals), Federico Troiani (piano, keyboards), Roberto Senzasono (drums, percussion), Franco Coletta (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Enzo De Luca (vocals, acoustic guitar), Dino Cappa (bass), Tony Mimms (vocals), Michela Grandi (vocals) and Roberto Rosati (timbaillas). What resulted from the recording sessions was a nice collection of songs with soft rock arrangements, very different from the symphonic style of the Reale Accademia di Musica eponymous album. Nonetheless, the album was entitled Adriano Monteduro e Reale Accademia di Musica and co-credited to the band. It’s a concept album where all the songs follow a common thread ad tell of a psychedelic dream, in some way captured by the colourful art work by Fausto Di Landro...

 


The opener “Buongiorno nel bosco (Il canto del sole)” (Good morning in the wood – The song of the sun) is a folksy ballad based on an acoustic guitar arpeggio. The lyrics and music conjure up the image of an enchanted wood at dawn: under the faint light you can see a hollow tree, three dark pandas, a sleepy red deer and a gnome who is carving lilac marionettes. Then the gnome starts to dance happily because he knows this is a holy day to celebrate on the banks of the river, under a magic oak tree. It’s the wood of fantasy and other gnomes row merrily on their small pirogues to reach the place of the ceremony... Next comes “La favola del guardiano del bosco” (The tale of the guardian of the wood) that tells in music and words of the birth of the magic wood. Once upon a time an illuminated man came from a far violent place, he lifted his arms up to the sky and turned himself into the wood creating a paradise and setting everything in peace and harmony with a miracle of love...

Mezzogiorno” (Midday) paints in notes and words a peculiar hippy style tableau with people running barefoot on the grass under a blue sky. The sun is shining, the bees are busily flying from flower to flower and your thoughts can follow the music and singing of wind and creeks... Then “Le figlie dell'erba (Festa magica)” (The daughters of the grass – Magic party) marks the arrival of some beautiful girls carrying baskets full of fruits and magical mushrooms. The dance is going to start, a band of old dwarves is going to play and everyone will be happy... Well, just a metaphor of the pop festivals of the early seventies!

 


The reflective “Viaggio libero” (Free trip) describes a trip through the magic wood where you can breathe freedom and happiness under the moonlight while the following “Le montagne nel tramonto” (The mountains in the sundown) reminds you that you are just living in a dream. The mountains at dusk are like shadows of faceless knights asleep and you fear that tonight they will ride away... Ghosts are hidden in real life all day long and you are aware that when the new day will rise the dream will fade out and reality will take over again... 

 


The dreamy “Preludio a...” (Prelude to...) is a beautiful instrumental track that leads to “Una canzone” (A song), an acoustic piece about the healing, anti-depressive power of songs, friendship and love. When you feel that illusions, happiness and dreams are going to melt into a bleak daily life, just try to sing along some piano chords or a strummed guitar pattern (with a little help from a pinch of magic grass) to have a new go! Then “Suoni di umanità” (Sounds of humanity) ends the album suggesting that this was a fairy tale that could come true. Fantasies of a timeless world without cities while you are surrounded by the sounds of civilization... Why not?

On the whole, I enjoyed the album although I fear that many prog fans could find it a bit disappointing.

 

Adriano Monteduro e Reale Accademia di Musica (1974). Other opinions:

Jim Russell: The album is only recommended to Italian collectors, fans of exceptional album art, and fans of Italian soft pop-rock music. It is good but it is definitely not what prog heads are looking for. Of course if you're like me you'll buy it anyway hoping against hope for more RADM. You'll get just a hint of a taste of their previous glorious album. For me personally, I think it's just charming enough to be a keeper... (You can read the complete review HERE)

 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

ROYAL ACADEMY

From the book Rock Progressivo Italiano: an introduction to Italian Progressive Rock

Reale Accademia di Musica were formed in Rome in the early seventies and rose from the ashes of another band called Fholks. In 1972 they released a very interesting eponymous debut album with a line-up featuring Henryk “Enrique” Topel Cabanes (vocals), Federico Troiani (keyboards, vocals), Pierfranco Pavone (bass), Roberto Senzasono (drums, percussion) and Pericle Sponzilli (guitar) who left the band soon after the recording sessions and was replaced by Nicola Agrimi. The album was produced by Maurizio Vandelli and the overall sound features pleasant melodies and pastoral acoustic passages. This work doesn’t shine in originality and the lyrics sometimes are a little bit naive but it’s well played and recorded and I’m sure that Italianprog fans will love it.

 


The opener “Favola” (Fairy tale) is soft and dreamy. Delicate pastoral melodies depict an enchanted world of songs and fairy tales where Time calmly “weaves its story”...

Then comes the long, complex “Mattino” (Morning) which is about the end of a happy childhood when dreams are blown away by cold reality. The music starts softly, led by piano and vocals... “Open your eyes / Mind that your childhood is over / And you have no time to dream anymore... The simplicity of ingenuity will burn like a candle...”. After a piano interlude the music becomes tense and the rhythm takes off for a beautiful instrumental ride through reality. When the music calms down again it’s time for a new awareness... “Now you are a man / And as a man you have money, a job, dignity and a woman who warms you but... / Even heaven can’t give you back the happiness of childhood...”.

 


Ognuno sa” (Everybody knows) is a melodic ballad inviting you to live like a carefree child, dreaming of endless roads towards the blue sky... “Life is a flower that you can pick if you want, when you want it / Because it’s the only gift that you can have for nothing in exchange / And if you want you can give it to the people who love you, to those who are with you...”.

On the next track, “Padre” (Father), the atmosphere is definitely more troubled and heavier. It’s a complex piece featuring intense instrumental passages and heartfelt vocals. The lyrics are about the generation gap... “Father, you ask me what I think / You ask me where I want to go, how will it end... You never think of your way of living, walking in circles and killing your dreams...”.

 


Lavoro in città” (Work in the city) is a beautiful track in three parts. After a short piano intro the music drives you into a nightmare. The lyrics depict a sick world where machines have taken over and freedom is the bed you sleep in. Images from Fritz Lang’s film “Metropolis” come to mind... “The radio can’t sing / It shouts that my civility is dying now / Around me there are faces of people scared like me...”. The atmosphere of fear and alienation melts into a dreamy invocation for a peaceful, simpler life, full of magic songs and sounds... “Everything is divine, you know / Just if you want it / And if you want it, it will be so...”. The third part is a lively, jazzy instrumental finale.

The last track “Vertigine” (Dizziness) concludes the album with a full tank of dark, heavy energy. Electric guitar riffs and organ patterns underline gloomy lyrics. Long rivers are carrying clouds of gas and a threatening shadow is approaching... “Your door is closed but you know that you can’t stop it / It’s coming here, it’s coming here!”.