Monday, 6 April 2015



PHOENIX AGAIN 
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Live in Castel Mella (BS) 
May 22, 2015

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FABIO ZUFFANTI AND Z BAND

Live in Savona
May 8, 2015

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https://www.facebook.com/events/886506524729606/


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Saturday, 4 April 2015

A NEW MOON AND OLD MEMORIES

Aurora Lunare come from Livorno and began life in 1978 on the initiative of a bunch of friends in love with the music of bands such as EL&P, Yes, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme or Area just to name but a few. In that period progressive rock was on the wane but the band went against the tide and remained active on the local scene until the end of the eighties. In those years they hadn't the chance to release an album and it wasn't until 2006 that Aurora Lunare could manage to self-release a double CD with their non-professional old recordings to keep the memory of the band alive. In 2007 a real reunion followed and after years of hard, passionate work in 2013 the band finally released an official eponymous debut album on the independent label Lizard Records with a line up featuring Mauro Pini (vocals, keyboards), Luciano Tonetti (bass), Marco Santinelli (drums) and Stefano Onorati (piano, keyboards, electric guitar). During the recording sessions they were helped by many guests such as Tolo Marton (guitar), Gianluca Milanese (flute), Alessandro Corvaglia (guitar, vocals), Corrado Pezzini (synth-vocals), Graziano Di Sacco (vocal effects), Nicola Santinelli (classical guitar), Greta Merli (vocals) and Valentina Cantini (violin) who contributed to add more colours to the musical palette of the band. The result is excellent and I'm sure that Italian progressive rock lovers will not be disappointed by this album. By the way, in the booklet you'll find many pictures and some paintings by Luciano Tonetti that describe the content of the music and lyrics...

album cover

The beautiful opener "Evasione di un'idea" (Escape of an idea) begins by a marching beat that seems coming out from the mists of the past. In fact, according to the liner notes, the first part of this track is taken from an old tape containing a live recording from 1980 but after a minute and a half the mist gives way to a brilliant symphony of lights and shadows evoking the eternal struggle between dreams and reality, youth and maturity. As a gust of wind blowing away the cry of a man, an idea rises over the void that surrounds you. It shouts, trying to erode heavy metaphorical stones and negative memories and you can feel that soon a song of joy will break through, one day or another...


The following "Eroi invincibili... son solo i pensieri" (Invincible heroes... They are just thoughts) is in the same mood and begins by a piano solo pattern, then soaring melodic lines and heartfelt vocals lead your through indescribable landscapes where you can find lost temples and wide meadows burnt by the fire of a thousand emotions. You have to walk the beaten tracks, crawling on layers of madness and taking the risk of drowning in the sea of your lost chances... A church like organ solo passage ends this track and introduces the next one, the wonderful instrumental "Mondo fantasmatico" (Phantasmatic world) where you can let your imagination run free following the notes of a magic flute until you get lost in time and space.

"Riflessi indicativi" (Indicative reflexes) draws in music and words a surreal tableau reflecting images of distant worlds in the morning light. You can see black corals, crystal nets and strange buildings all around you while your memories start to get blurred... Then comes the dark, crazy experimentalism of "Corsa senza meta" (Running without a goal), an instrumental digression where dreams seem to turn into nightmares.

Aurora Lunare 2013

On "Secondo dubbio" (Second doubt) the rhythm rises again and the atmosphere is definitively brighter. The music and the hermetic lyrics conjure up images of hope shining through an suffucating mist and old memories from a tormented past. The following "Interlunio" is a short instrumental track for organ and flute that leads to another beautiful instrumental, the dreamy "Sfera onirica" (Oneiric sphere). The final track, "All'infuori del tempo / Ritorno al nulla" is a cover taken from Le Orme's masterpiece Felona e Sorona and represents a tribute to one of Aurora Lunare's most important sources of inspiration. It's enhanced by the presence of former Le Orme's guitarist Tolo Marton and by the female vocals of Greta Merli.

On the whole, this is an excellent album where historic pieces from the old repertoire of the band and some new tracks have been arranged and performed with painstaking care and great musicianship for the pleasure of the listener: a must-have for every Italianprog fan!


Aurora Lunare: Aurora Lunare (2013). Other opinions:
Michael "Aussie-Byrd-Brother": 'Aurora Lunare' is everything a symphonic progressive rock fan could ask for, and with setting the bar so high for a debut release, one has to wonder where the band can can go from here. Not bad for a group already over thirty five years into their career! Better late than never, and if this is what the band could have achieved back in the vintage era of the 70's, they'd possibly be being talked about as something very special from the heyday of the RPI genre now... (read the complete review HERE)

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

PLANET WOMAN

I Dik Dik were formed in Milan in 1965 by Pietruccio Montalbetti (guitar, bass vocals), Giancarlo Sbriziolo (guitar, vocals), Erminio Salvaderi (guitar, vocals), Mario Totaro (keyboards) and Sergio Panno (drums). They have been active for more than forty years and were very successful in Italy during the late sixties and early seventies thanks to their collaboration with Lucio Battisti and Mogol and thanks to the Italian versions of songs like “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by Procol Harum or “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas And Papas. They have always been just a beat and pop band and “Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa” is their only true progressive effort. The album was released in 1972 (a period when almost everybody in Italy seemed to go crazy for prog) but it was a commercial flop so, after this album, the band turned back and took another musical direction.


Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa” is a concept work featuring lyrics by the eclectic artist of Jewish origins Herbert Pagani. It was conceived as a musical and poetical journey through “planet woman”: the female body here is compared to an unknown world to explore, both physically and spiritually... The music was composed by keyboardist Mario Totaro and it’s an excellent mix of progressive rock and Italian melody.

The opener is the melodic, light “Donna paesaggio” (Woman Landscape). A man is flying over a strange planet, “Woman landscape / I’m flying over you with caresses / And along my journey I can see lands, lakes, mountains and the mirage of my happiness / I will sing of you / Like a Greek poet of the ancient times... And my voice will be a hymn to your naked freedom...”. The music is rich and features beautiful touches of church-like organ and mellotron...

I Dik Dik

On the second track “Il viso” (The Face) our “hero” comes down with his parachute landing in a forest of “hair-trees”, then he explores the brows surrounding “two lakes of blue water” (the eyes), then the nose, the ears... “I can already see your lips on the horizon / Your mouth is smiling to me / And your smile reveals a city / Atlantis of light that kills me... And to know a little bit more / I breathe awhile / Then I dive and go down...”.

The sound of the moog marks a change in atmosphere that becomes darker in the next track “Il cuore” (The Heart). “Like a cast-away on his raft / I’m sailing down, along your veins...”, our hero is now flushed away by brooks of phosphorescent blood... “I hear the thunder of a factory / The central engine of the heart appears enormous to me / I can see red Niagara falls swallowing me...”. The rhythm becomes frenzied, the mood dramatic but our “explorer” awakes alive, wet and out of danger because the heart let him break through...

A short interlude leads to the “Cathedral Of Love”... “I’m climbing stairways of placenta / As if by magic I feel a body who is singing for me unknown Ave Marias / Cathedral of Love, cathedral of love / My heart beats fast but I go on...”. Well, the lyrics describing the womb are a little bit bizarre (to say the least!) but the music is really good, here almost mystic I dare say, featuring excellent harmony vocals...


Next track, “Gambe” (Legs), describes the dizziness provoked by a “walking continent” on the streets of a city. “The earth is trembling / New danger / Legs of woman / White vertigo... When you walk in the city / It’s like a forest / That goes in a desert of concrete...”. Here the rhythm rises sprinkled with flashes of moog, then melts into a nice short pastoral interlude (the instrumental “Suite relativa”).

Monti e valli” (Mountains and Valleys) is a bright, happy ballad and the subject matter is, as you can guess, the bosom... “I see pyramids and coliseums... Mountains and valleys of the youth / My hands are caressing you / Like ocean waves / My fingers are like horses breaking into gallop upon you...”.

Next comes the delicate, sweet “I sogni” (The dreams) that tries to describe in music and words the dreams of a woman as the souvenirs of a childhood, the nightmares of the war, the wounds of past lovers that consciousness tries to hide. “I dream your dreams...”. In my opinion this is the best track on this album.


The next track “La notte” (The night) tries to describe the act of procreation. Tense vocals soar over a beautiful piano pattern counter pointed by the sound of the moog... The poetry of the lyrics is perhaps a little bit clumsy and naive but the overall result is not so bad.

Sintesi” is a reprise of the opening theme and it concludes a particular, interesting album... “Woman poetry / You are a miracle of rhythm and harmony / You are the most fragile fortress on earth / You resist the world but love will open you / And from the country of your body new lives will blossom / Until life will be...”.

I don’t think that this is an essential album but it is a very good one and it would have deserved a better destiny. On the whole I think that this work is more ironic than pretentious, as the funny art cover, and it’s really worth listening to. It was re-released on CD in 2003 by BMG with a nice paper sleeve reproducing the original LP jacket and I’m sure that Italian prog lovers will love it...